Archive for October, 2009:

FINRA reports that it will expand Public Arbitrator Program

Written on October 14th, 2009 by Jason M. Kueserno shouts

On October 5, 2009, FINRA reported that it will expand its “pilot” program that allows investors who file eligible claims to select an arbitration panel that consists of three “public” arbitrators, rather than the traditional panel comprised of two “public” arbitrators and one “non-public” arbitrator.

To accomplish this, FINRA has expanded the program to include cases against the following 14 broker-dealers (from 11 broker-dealers):

  • Chase Investment Services (10 cases);
  • Oppenheimer & Co. (15 cases);
  • Raymond James Financial Services/Raymond James & Associates (10 cases);
  • Citigroup Global Markets (60 cases);
  • Merrill Lynch (60 cases);
  • Morgan Stanley Smith Barney (60 cases);
  • UBS Financial Services (60 cases);
  • Wells Fargo Advisors (60 cases);
  • Ameriprise Financial Services (18 cases);
  • Charles Schwab (10 cases);
  • Edward Jones (18 cases);
  • Fidelity Brokerage Services (10 cases);
  • LPL Financial (10 cases); and
  • TD Ameritrade (10 cases)

The investor who files the claim has the option having their claim participate in the program, which concludes on October 5, 2010.

FINRA is using the program to evaluate a number of factors, including the results of cases decided by all public arbitration panels, as well as the number of investors who elect to have their case participate in the program. To date, FINRA reports that investors have filed 474 eligible cases and that 51% of investors in those cases have elected to participate in the program.

The Kueser Law Firm represents investors in securities arbitration. If you feel that your investments have been mismanaged or if you have general questions about your mutual funds, stocks, bonds, or other investments, please contact our firm to discuss your rights.

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FINRA Arbitration Claims – August 2009

Written on October 14th, 2009 by Jason M. Kueserno shouts

FINRA recently reported its August 2009 arbitration statistics. As of August 31, 2009, 4,991 claims were filed, compared to only 3,018 as of August 31, 2008. This represents an increase of 65% year over year. FINRA also reported that 2,817 cases were closed through August and that the average turnaround time for cases that go to an arbitration hearing has declined by 10% (14.5 months from 16.1 months).

Despite this significant increase in cases filed, FINRA also reported that there has been only a slight (1%) increases in cases being mediated. In addition, 11% fewer cases were resolved through mediation (420 cases as of August 31, 2009 compared to 472 cases as of August 31, 2008).

As of August 31, 2009, there have been 9 more cases filed than during the entire 2008 calendar year. The most frequent claims/controversies involved continue to be breach of fiduciary duty, misrepresentation/fraud, negligence, and breach of contract. Mutual funds and common stock also remain the most common type of securities involved in arbitration claims.

Investors have also prevailed in a larger percentage of cases decided (by hearing or on the papers). As of August 31, 2009, 396 cases had been decided and investors prevailed in 178 (45%) of those cases. This represents the largest percentage of cases decided in favor of investors since 2004, when investors prevailed in 47% of such cases. Given that 2,817 cases have closed as of August 31, 2009, these statistics also demonstrate that a large number of arbitration claims are settled.

The Kueser Law Firm represents investors in securities arbitration. If you feel that your investments have been mismanaged, please contact our firm to discuss your rights.

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