The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced today the launch of a pilot program specifically designed for large arbitration cases involving claims of $10 million or more. The program enables parties to customize the administrative process to better suit special needs of a larger case and allows them to bypass certain FINRA arbitration rules. Participation in the pilot program, which began today, is voluntary and open to all cases; but in order to be eligible, all parties will be required to pay for any additional costs of the program and must be represented by counsel.
Examples of how parties may customize the process include having the option to:
- have additional control over the method of arbitrator appointment and the qualifications of arbitrators;
- hire non-FINRA arbitrators for their case;
- develop their own procedures for exchanging information prior to the hearing;
- have expanded discovery options such as depositions and interrogatories; and
- choose from a wider selection of facilities.
All parties must agree and will be required to pay for any additional costs of the program such as costs for enhanced facilities or additional arbitrator honorariums. FINRA will send a letter to parties in cases involving claims of $10 million or more to solicit participation in the pilot.