By Mary Ann Hanke, Fall 2016 Student Intern
It’s election year, so bear with me: Filing a statement of claim against your broker or brokerage firm is a lot like a presidential campaign. How?
Just like you would if you were on a campaign trail, you’ve likely done a lot of preparation leading up to the filing. You (or your attorney) have examined your brokerage statements, determined the amount of money you lost, and written a persuasive statement of claim. And you’ve just filed it with FINRA. Done, right?
Definitely not. If you win the election, you’ve only just begun. You have at least a good four years ahead of you in the White House, and you have to hit the ground running as soon as the campaign is over. For example, you might start by compiling a list of your cabinet members and preparing your policy agendas. Similarly, filing a statement of claim is only the first step, despite the thorough and thoughtful preparation you have put in thus far. As soon as you have filed, you also have to hit the ground running.
Well what’s next? The good thing is that unlike being a new president-elect, the FINRA arbitration process is user-friendly. FINRA itself has a guide on its website here, but this series will also help outline and prepare you for what to expect. It will guide you to the next steps after you’ve filed your statement of claim, leading up to and including the arbitration hearing itself.
First, since you’ve just filed a claim, the other side gets a chance to respond, and they are going to be called the Respondents from here on out. Remember when you were putting together your statement of claim, and you had to gather all of your relevant facts? In an answer, the Respondents have a similar opportunity to lay out the facts they consider relevant, but they also get the chance to spell out any available defenses to your claims.
Forty-five days after either your broker or brokerage firm receives a copy of your statement of claim, they must file this answer. They will file it with FINRA just like you did, but they will also send you a copy. That way, you can begin to see their theory of the case, and how you can prepare to defend their allegations.
What’s next? Arbitrator selection…