The Securities Litigation Expert Blog

Accelerant Launches Mock and Shadow Securities Arbitration Panel Product

Posted by Jack Duval

Sep 5, 2013 7:29:00 AM

Accelerant provides litigators the ability to present their case to a mock arbitration panel before the actual hearing, as well as the opportunity to have a shadow arbitration panel read daily transcripts or view video testimony to provide real-time insights into trial dynamics.  We have assembled a stable of securities arbitrators from multiple pools across the country and can supplement with candidates from specific locations, if requested.

Mock Arbitration Panels

  • Matched to actual panel composition by demographics and background;

  • Day-long presentation of one or both sides of the case, including: witness testimony; documentary evidence; and exhibits;

  • Immediate feedback through question and answer sessions; perceived areas of concern; and suggestions on how to clarify and strengthen your case.

Shadow Arbitration Panels

  • Matched to actual panel composition by demographics and background;

  • Review of daily transcripts, video testimony, and actual exhibits;

  • Feedback through daily interviews and written summaries;

  • Insight into witness credibility, effectiveness and clarity of arguments and evidence, and arbitrator reactions.

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Topics: FINRA, securities, litigation, arbitration, AAA, SEC, JAMS, Products, Accelerant Products

Arbitrator Analyzer™ Product Simplifies FINRA Rank and Strike List Review

Posted by Jack Duval

Jun 17, 2013 9:32:35 AM

Accelerant has just released it's newest product, the Arbitration Analyzer.

The Arbitrator Analyzer™ is a tool that enables attorneys to quickly and efficiently review, analyze, evaluate, and drill down on FINRA arbitrators and their publicly available awards.



    • Elegant and simple visual display of arbitrator data;

    • Dynamic, real time filtering by various factors, including: age, number of publicly available awards, and total amount of awards;

    • “At-a-glance” understanding of Rank and Strike list composition;

    • Instant drill down into individual awards;

    • Fast turn around times.

Arbitrator Analyzer from Accelerant LLC on Vimeo.



$700 for basic workup.

Custom analyses available.

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Topics: FINRA, securities, Data Analysis, Rank and Strike List, data analytics, litigation, arbitration, analytics, SEC, Accelerant Products, Law Firm Analytics, Arbitrator Analyzer, product;, Predictive Analytics

Florida State Court Rules State Statues of Limitation Apply to FINRA Arbitrations

Posted by Jack Duval

May 17, 2013 6:02:36 AM

A Florida State Supreme Court recently ruled that the State's statutes of limitations can apply to FINRA arbitration claims.  (TR)  This is significant because FINRA allows a six year window to bring a claim, whereas the Florida laws may limit the window to four or two years.

 Florida's statute of limitations can apply not only to court proceedings, but to securities arbitration cases between investors and their brokers, the Florida Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

The ruling, in favor of Raymond James Financial Services Inc , could, at least in Florida, empower securities arbitrators to cut the time investors have to file a complaint with Financial Industry Regulatory Authority from six years to four years or even two years. And other states could follow.

The decision clarifies a longstanding question about whether FINRA arbitrators can apply a Florida law to determine whether a case is filed in a timely manner. Many securities arbitrations are filed in Florida due to the state's large number of retirees.

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Topics: FINRA, Florida, litigation, arbitration, regulation.

Finra Moves to Simplify Arbitrator Selection Process

Posted by Jack Duval

Apr 21, 2013 3:31:07 AM

Finra is making it easier for claimants involved in arbitrations to select an all public panel, Thomson Reuters reports. (TR).  The rule change, which has been sent to the SEC for approval would remove the requirement to select an all-public arbitrator option at the start of the arbitration process.

The original January 31, 2011 modification to the arbitrator selection process can be found here.

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Topics: FINRA, litigation, arbitration, SEC

Finra Annual Conference May 20-22 | Washington, D.C.

Posted by Jack Duval

Jan 13, 2013 5:16:16 AM

Finra has announced it's annual conference topics.  (Finra)  FYI, if you can't make it down to Washington, you can live stream it for $700 (for non-members).  (I have used the Finra streaming software before and it works well.)

Topics will include:

  • Anti-Money Laundering

  • Branch Office Inspections

  • Business Continuity Planning

  • Consolidated Audit Trail (CAT) and Large Trader Reporting

  • Cyber Security

  • Enforcement Developments

  • Ethics for Securities Attorneys

  • Examinations

  • Financial and Operational Considerations

  • Fraud Prevention

  • JOBS Act

  • Municipal Securities

  • Outside Business Activities

  • Private Placements

  • Retail Sales of Complex Products

  • Small Firm Compliance Practices

  • Social Media and Communications With the Public

  • Suitability

  • Supervision

  • Technology Priorities for Broker-Dealers


Detailed session descriptions can be found here.



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Topics: FINRA, streaming, private placements, litigation, arbitration, suitability, complex products, investments, supervision, Annual Meeting, Complex Investments, Compliance, Dodd-Frank Act, regulation., Complexity, education

Comparison of Finra Arbitration to Civil Litigation for Investment Advisors

Posted by Jack Duval

Dec 8, 2012 3:52:44 AM

Sutherland has a concise comparison for Investment Advisors of litigating through Finra's Dispute Resolution forum (arbitration) versus traditional civil litigation through the courts. (Sutherland)  My only critique is that the majority of Investment Advisor agreements I have seen have included arbitration agreements through other forums such as AAA and JAMS.

Finra is generally much less costly than these other forums.

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Topics: FINRA, civil litigation, Investment Advisors, litigation, arbitration, AAA, JAMS

Finra Guidance on Investment Advisor Arbitration

Posted by Jack Duval

Nov 8, 2012 1:35:11 AM

Finra has published guidance for Investment Advisors at non-member firms who wish to utilize the Finra Dispute Resolutions platform.  (Finra)  You can see our previous coverage of this here.  The full text is below:

FINRA Dispute Resolution has received inquiries from lawyers who represent investors and those who represent investment advisers (IAs) which are not FINRA members about the availability of FINRA’s arbitration and mediation forum to resolve their disputes.  Currently, such disputes are resolved in court or in non-FINRA dispute resolution forums.  In response to these inquiries, FINRA offers the following guidance:

With respect to arbitration, FINRA will accept these disputes on a voluntary, case-by-case basis if the parties meet the following conditions:

  • The IA and investor submit a post-dispute agreement to arbitrate.

  • The IA or other parties agree to pay all arbitration surcharge fees.

  • The investor files a special written submission agreement to submit the dispute to FINRA Dispute Resolution that is:

    • Signed by all parties to the arbitration (including all investor parties and all IA parties).

    • Signed after the events occurred that gave rise to the underlying dispute.

The special submission agreement requires the parties to acknowledge that:

  • FINRA cannot enforce awards entered against non-member IAs and/or their employees (because FINRA is not a Self-Regulatory Organization for IAs).

    • Prevailing parties may enforce awards entered against non-member IAs and/or their employees in a court of competent jurisdiction pursuant to applicable state or federal law.

  • FINRA may bar the IA from the forum in future cases if an IA fails to pay any award, settlement agreement, or FINRA fees.

  • FINRA and its arbitrators and mediators will be held harmless from liability arising in connection with the resolution of the parties’ dispute.

  • Disputes involving IAs will be administered in accordance with the SEC approved FINRA Codes of Arbitration Procedure.

  • The final award will be made publicly available.

FINRA will also accept industry disputes between non-member IAs and their employees on a voluntary, case-by-case basis if the parties meet the above conditions.

With respect to mediation, FINRA will offer mediation services for any IA disputes on a voluntary basis.  Mediation can be faster and less expensive than arbitration or litigation.  If the parties agree to mediate, they will not give up any right to arbitrate or litigate if they cannot reach a satisfactory settlement. FINRA's mediation program has achieved an 80% success rate — parties who mediate in our forum resolve four out of every five cases.

Parties and counsel may direct any questions regarding IA cases to Todd Saltzman, Deputy Director of Case Administration, at (212) 858-4273 or by email.

Note:  FINRA requires IAs to arbitrate investor and industry disputes when the IA is dually registered with FINRA and the dispute arises in connection with the IA’s business activities as a FINRA member or associated person (see FINRA Rules 12200 and 13200).

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Topics: FINRA, RIA, Investment Advisors, litigation, arbitration, Compliance, regulation.

Finra to Facilitate RIA Arbitrations

Posted by Jack Duval

Nov 1, 2012 4:16:37 AM

Bruce Kelly, of InvestmentNews, reports that Finra will soon open its dispute resolution arbitration platform to registered investment advisors.  (IN)  This is good news for RIA investors because those arbitrations have typically been heard in AAA or JAMS forums, which are much more expensive.  RIA firms may also welcome the lower costs.

Finra Dispute Resolution President Linda Feinberg announced that a few RIA cases were already in the system and a formal rollout will be coming soon.  Feinberg also said,

"The move is in no way related to Finra's effort to become the self-regulatory organization overseeing investment advisers."

Readers of this blog will note that we have covered the battle for investment advisor regulation being waged between Finra and the SEC here.  I will leave readers to their own opinions about how this move relates to that dispute.


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Topics: FINRA, RIA, Bruce Kelly, Investment Advisors, Investment Advisor, litigation, arbitration, AAA, Linda Feinberg, SEC, JAMS, Compliance, regulation., InvestmentNews

Warning! Finra Arbitration Filings Down, S&P 500 Up

Posted by Jack Duval

Oct 17, 2012 3:52:47 AM

Below is a visualization of  annual Finra Arbitration Filings as compared to the S&P 500 annual closing value.  Since 1999, there is a significant negative correlation of -0.594 between the two.  When arbitration filings have peaked it has been a buy signal, and vice versa.

On the lower pane of the viz, I have plotted the annual Finra Arbitration Filings and colored the marks by the number of claims involving suitability.  Clearly, as suitability claims have waned, the market has topped out.  (Note the 2012 data is through September.)

Two clear take-aways:

  • This is a sell signal for investors

  • Broker/Dealers planning legal and compliance budgets for 2013 should take note


Feel free to share.

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Topics: FINRA, litigation, S&P 500, arbitration, SEC, filings, Compliance, regulation.

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