Client Bulletin: FINRA Aims to Simplify Arbitration Process

By | Client Bulletins, Press Release

FINRA is seeking to amend the Customer and Industry codes to provide for optional streamlined arbitration procedures in matters involving claims of $50,000 or less.

As currently constituted, these FINRA claims are determined (1) based on the parties’ pleadings and submitted materials, or (2) at the request of a claimant, through a full, in person hearing that is not limited in duration and permits cross examination. FINRA determined, however, that parties are often unhappy with arbitration on the papers and the cost associated with a full hearing, along with the prospect of cross examination, may dissuade certain claimants from requesting a hearing.

FINRA is consequently seeking to implement a third arbitration option that falls between the current choices. This proposed intermediate process would generally (1) be held over the telephone, (2) limit claimants and respondents to two hours each to present their case and 30 minutes for rebuttals and closings, (3) limit the proceedings to two hearing sessions in a single day, exclusive of prehearing conferences, (4) remove the opportunity for cross examination, and (5) prevent parties from calling opposing parties as witnesses. Arbitrators would still be permitted to question witnesses and the ability to choose this intermediate process would rest with the claimant.

FINRA submitted the proposed rule change to the SEC in January 2018 for regulatory approval. Should the SEC approve the proposal, FINRA would announce the effective date of the change in a Regulatory Notice to be published not more than 120 days after the approval and the effective date would be no later than 60 days thereafter.  The proposed rule change is available on the link below.

Related Documents
Proposed Rule Change

Client Bulletin: Sexual Harassment Policies and Training Required for Illinois Lobbyists in 2018

By | Client Bulletins, Press Release

Companies that are, or that employ, registered Illinois lobbyists will soon be required to comply with a new law that requires implementation of sexual harassment policies and a specific training regimen. Effective January 1, 2018, lobbyists and companies that employ or contract with lobbyists must comply with new Section 4.7 of the Lobbyist Registration Act, which requires annual completion of a sexual harassment training program provided by the Secretary of State and implementation of a written sexual harassment policy.  Companies should ensure that any of their employees who are registered as lobbyists in Illinois comply with the annual sexual harassment training program and, upon registration or renewal, confirm to the Secretary of State that their sexual harassment policy meets the minimum requirements under the statute.

While not specifically required by the terms of Section 4.7, companies who retain independent contractors as lobbyists may want to confirm that their lobbyist contractors have complied with the training requirement. For more information, you can download the complete Bulletin here.