Securities arbitration differs greatly from a typical civil court action. Recognizing these differences when presenting your case can be the difference between a monetary Award and having your case dismissed. Unlike court, where your target audience is a jury of laymen, unfamiliar with the law and your case, arbitration panels are typically made up of practicing or retired attorneys who have read all the pleadings in your case before ever seeing you. So how does an investor connect with and convince an arbitration panel to award damages? This article should provide a quick primer.
You get a call from your stockbroker saying he's found an incredible buying opportunity for you - an undervalued penny stock, a private placement, a non-public REIT or the like. After giving you some more details on why he recommends adding this new investment to your portfolio, you agree to make the purchase. A few months or a year goes by and suddenly that fantastic investment isn't performing like your broker said it would. It's become a huge drain on your portfolio and the money you were relying on for a family vacation, a new car or retirement has vanished.
You've been swindled by your broker and learn that, not surprisingly, his firm knew nothing about it. Worse yet, you learn that he never actually opened an account for you - "investing" your money in a Ponzi scheme, a phony-baloney high interest promissory note or a cure for Alzheimer's that the FDA knows nothing about - and sending you made up brokerage firm account statements.