The securities industry self-regulator, FINRA, continues to examine new ways of looking out for older investors. As the general population ages, and as wealthy baby boomers retired, older investors make up a disproportionate number of all investors, particularly those involved in securities disputes with brokerages.
Currently, FINRA offers expedited processing of arbitration claims in which a claimant is 65 years or older, or in which illness is a pressing issue. The self-regular has recently been looking at going even further toward restoring lost funds to older investors. One reason is that, while FINRA has improved the speed at which it brings arbitration claims to conclusion, the process can still be protracted.
FINRA Arbitrations Take Several Months to More Than a Year to Resolve
According to FINRA’s latest statistics, all arbitration proceedings take an average of 14.2 months to close. For cases decided by an arbitration panel, the average time is 16.5 months. For those decided “on papers” — claims with no hearings — the average is 6.5 months. While those averages are far better than what an investor might face pursuing their case in a court of law (though binding arbitration agreements preclude that as an option in all but the most exceptional cases), that is still quite a bit of time, especially for an older investor, to wait to get their money back from a raw deal or a crooked investment scheme.
Shorter Code Deadlines Proposed to Expedite Arbitration for Senior Investors
In order to further streamline their process, FINRA has been discussing potentially expediting cases for all claimants over 75. In order to accomplish that, officials at FINRA have suggested that shorter deadline at each of the stages of the arbitration process could move things forward much more quickly. This would certainly be a welcome change, allowing investor who have, in some cases, lost all of their retirement savings to an unscrupulous financial advisor, to get their money back before their quality of life suffers dramatically.
The director FINRA’s Office of Dispute Resolution, Richard Berry, has drafted a version of the new rule which is currently undergoing review.