On July 2, 2012, The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) launched a pilot program specifically designed for large arbitration cases involving claims of $10 million or more. The program was designed to allow for customization of the administrative process for large scale cases.
Linda Fienberg, President of FINRA Dispute Resolution, said, "In response to the increasing number of very large cases, we wanted to introduce a more formal approach to give parties greater flexibility and more control over the administration of their case."
Participation in the program is voluntary; 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.
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.
Examples of how parties may customize the process can be found in the FINRA press release: FINRA Launches Pilot Program for Large Arbitration Cases
Tom's Take: "Hopefully FINRA's program for large arbitration cases allows investors more flexibility in the arbitration process. However, the program is voluntary so either party can refuse to participate and the costs are unknown."