Since March of 2020, businesses around the world have adjusted their practices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. One major shift involved holding virtual meetings, conferences, and even court hearings. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) adopted such practices as its Dispute Resolution Services began to hold virtual hearings. Recently, FINRA reflected on some of the benefits and challenges of holding virtual hearings. Here are some of their key findings.
Some Case Forms Work Better Virtually
FINRA handles a variety of case forms, some of which adapted more successfully to the virtual format. For instance, expungement cases proceeded smoothly for the most part, as these cases typically take less than a day to complete. More complex issues may require several weeks of Zoom meetings, so the participants may take more detailed notes or employ more purposeful organizational strategies to keep track of what transpires during each virtual session.
Evidence and Testimony Considerations
While many FINRA arbitrators initially assumed that conducting hearings with a heavy load of documents and testimony from multiple witnesses, some found that the virtual format actually provided a supportive platform for moving the proceedings along smoothly and effectively. Witnesses could participate, regardless of their physical location. Additionally, services like Zoom offer simple ways to upload and share documents in a matter of minutes. Some parties even expressed how this process opened their eyes to the importance of creating clear exhibits and using them more strategically and effectively.
The Future of Virtual FINRA Hearings and Arbitration
As pandemic protocols subside across the country, courtrooms and other agencies are opening their doors once more. However, FINRA continues to offer virtual services to individuals who may prefer this option. Virtual hearings cut down on travel time and expenses, and many people want to have this as an option moving forward. While FINRA has not announced formal guidelines on the future of virtual hearings, such services will likely continue to serve those who express a preference.
If you have questions about an upcoming FINRA investigation or hearing, contact Judex Law LLC at (303) 523-4022 to discuss your options with an experienced securities law attorney today.