What You Need to Know
- FINRA's current voluntary program for accelerating these cases hasn't meaningfully sped case processing, it says.
- The new rule would allow accelerated processing of an arbitration proceeding if certain criteria is met.
- Comments are due by May 16.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority wants to modify its rules that allow for accelerated arbitration proceedings for parties who are 75 or older or are seriously ill.
FINRA is seeking feedback by May 16 on adding a new rule to the Codes of Arbitration Procedure to allow any party to request accelerated processing of an arbitration proceeding if they are:
- at least 75 years old; or
- certify that they have received a medical diagnosis and prognosis, and that based on that information they have a reasonable belief that accelerated processing is necessary to prevent prejudicing their interest in the arbitration.
The Director of Dispute Resolution Services would make an “objective determination as to whether the requesting party is at least 75 or has submitted the required certification,” FINRA states.
As it stands now, FINRA offers a voluntary program to accelerate arbitration proceedings, upon request, for claimants who have a serious health condition or are at least 65 years old.
Under the current program, “FINRA staff accelerates the case-related tasks that they can control, such as completing the arbitrator selection process, scheduling the initial prehearing conference and serving the final award,” FINRA states.
The current program also encourages arbitrators to be sensitive to the needs of the parties in making scheduling decisions and setting deadlines.
The program “does not, however, provide for shortened, rule-based case processing deadlines for parties or provide arbitrators with instruction on how quickly the arbitration should be completed,” FINRA said.
FINRA’s current program “has not resulted in meaningfully shortened case processing times,” FINRA said. “Cases that qualify for the current program close only slightly more quickly than cases that are not in the current program.”
The proposal “would improve the ability of these parties — which FINRA anticipates will primarily be customer claimants — to participate meaningfully in a FINRA arbitration and obtain a fair outcome,” according to FINRA.