Finra extended the postponement of in-person arbitration and mediation hearings through July, the regulator said Friday.
The suspension is now in place through July 31, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. said in an update on its website. The organization is halting in-person hearings due to public safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Finra first suspended in-person proceedings in the middle of March through May 1. It has extended the ban a couple times since then, adding several weeks with each iteration.
Finra is offering virtual hearings via Zoom and teleconference if the parties agree or if they’re mandated by arbitrators. “These services provide high-quality, secure, user-friendly options for conducting video and telephonic hearings and sharing documents remotely,” Finra said on its website.
At least three Zoom hearings have occurred, but lawyers are generally reluctant to take that route so far.
Finra runs the arbitration system that settles disputes to between customers and brokerages and between registered representatives and firms. Brokerage contracts almost always include mandatory arbitration clauses.