During my year-end review of securities arbitration award results for San Francisco, California, I made a conscious effort to limit my analysis to investor disputes involving stockbroker misconduct and breach of fidcuciary duty.
For 2009, there was a 43% increase in the number of securities arbitration cases filed with FINRA nationwide. Based on my analysis of the two-dozen or so cases that went all the way to hearing in San Francisco, I found that customers prevailed about 37.5% of the time. On a national basis, FINRA reports that investors won 45% of the 304 cases that went all the way to hearing. Are San Franciso Bay Area investors less likely to prevail in a FINRA arbitration hearing? I don’t think so. When I look at the arbitration awards for San Francisco cases, I noticed the following factors that can lead to a poor result:
- Investors who went to the arbitration hearing alone without an attorney did very poorly. Out of 8 arbitration cases analyzed, only one self-represented investor was awarded anything at all–the grand sum of $792 on a claim $37,500.