Last March we reported that, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. (FINRA) administratively postponed in-person arbitration and mediation proceedings, and held such proceedings remotely via telephone or Zoom.

However, given recent developments in the country’s reopening from the pandemic, FINRA announced that it will re-open 62 of its 69 FINRA Dispute Resolution Services (DRS) hearing locations for in-person arbitration and mediation proceeding beginning July 5, 2021. The remaining seven FINRA DRS locations (Augusta, Boca Raton, Buffalo, Detroit, Philadelphia, Providence, and Wilmington) remain closed through July 30, 2021.

Along with this announcement, FINRA clarified its safety protocols for in-person hearings, including social distancing, availability of hand sanitizer and masks, plexiglass dividers “in the event that testifying witnesses must remove their masks,” and distribution of best safety practices information to all in-person participants.

Troutman Pepper frequently represents financial services institutions such as broker-dealers and their associated persons in FINRA arbitration disputes and regulatory matters involving customer/investor, employment, and intra-industry claims.