March 15, 2021 Articles

Prehearing Issues Raised by Virtual Hearings of FINRA Arbitrations

Panels are denying motions to proceed virtually in roughly a third of the cases in which they are filed. Here are some of the arguments being made in opposition to such motions.

By Josh Jones and Joel Everest

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has made significant changes to the arbitration process in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 25, 2020, FINRA initially postponed all in-person arbitrations scheduled through May 31, 2020. Subsequent announcements have extended these adjournments through April 30, 2021, unless all parties and arbitrators agree to proceed via an in-person hearing. FINRA has indicated that it is reviewing whether or not to resume in-person hearings on a location-by-location basis and will do so “when public health conditions would permit[].”

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