Common Investment Verbiage

Answer - The formal Response filed by the brokerage firm/financial advisor to the consumer's claim.

Arbitration - It is just like a Trial, except instead of having a Judge and Jury, you have a Panel of three (sometimes one) arbitrators that render a final and binding verdict. It's the final stage of the arbitration process.

Arbitrator - The individual who sits on the arbitration Panel and decides the verdict. He/she may be a lawyer, but does not have to be.

Arbitrator list - The list promulgated by FINRA to counsel for both Claimant and Respondent. Counsel then has the opportunity to rank and strike candidates from the list. Each party then submits the ranked/struck list under cover to FINRA who will then select the arbitration Panel.

Claim (Statement of Claim) - The official pleading filed by the consumer against the brokerage firm to initiate the arbitration process.

Claimant - The individual/entity who filed the Claim against the financial entity in FINRA arbitration. Similar to a Plaintiff.

Chairperson - The lead arbitrator on the Panel. He/she rules on discovery disputes pre-hearing, and will rule on objections post-hearing.

Discovery - The formal process of exchanging documents between counsel for Claimants and Respondents.

FINRA - The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority is not technically a governmental entity. It is a self-Regulatory organization (SRO) overseen by the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC). It serves two functions. One is to regulate the brokerage firms and advisors that are members of FINRA (all major firms are). The second function is to administer the FINRA arbitration process.

Mediation - A voluntary process of attempting to settle the Claim prior to the arbitration hearing. It is a one day event utilizing a mediator who attempts to broker a settlement between the two parties. The mediator is agreed upon by both Claimant's and Respondent's counsel. He is neutral and has no binding authority.

Notice to members 99-90 - The official rules on which documentation the parties must exchange in discovery.

Respondent - The financial institution/advisor sued through the FINRA process. Similar to a Defendant.

Settlement - Resolution of the arbitration claim, usually prior to the hearing, whereby the Respondent pays an agreed upon amount to the Claimant in exchange for dismissal of the case.

Submission Agreement - Formal document signed by the Claimant to initiate the FINRA arbitration process. Therein, the Claimant agrees to abide by the rules of FINRA.

Twenty-day exchange - The final exchange of documents and witness lists between the parties 20 days before the arbitration hearing begins.

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