As Arbitration Cases Increase Expert Witness Demand Rises

By Andrew Favret

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The number of FINRA arbitrations continues to rise, with a 40% increase in new arbitrations in the last year, and a 29% increase from 2016. Of the thousands of cases filed each year the majority involve customer complaints. Because the matters in dispute often involve technical, industry-specific issues, the use of expert witnesses is increasingly favored in FINRA arbitrations and disciplinary matters.

Using an expert witness appropriately will add insight and value beyond just testimony. The role played by expert witnesses typically should begin at the outset of a case, working with a client to assess the strengths or weaknesses of a case well before it goes to trial. For example, in a case involving broker-dealer supervision, an expert might review a firm’s supervisory procedures to provide a preliminary determination that might make a difference as to whether the case should go forward. As a case progresses, experts are useful in reviewing evidence to be used in the case.  This might include an analysis of the deposition testimony of fact witnesses and other experts on both sides of the case. It might also include review of account statements, client agreements, or a firm’s procedures or operations.

Expert witnesses are also called upon to provide written expert reports required in a case, and in reviewing and providing rebuttal reports against experts on the other side of a case. Experts provide deposition testimony and can be used to prepare for and assess the testimony of other experts. Often these services provided prior to trial can be useful in reaching a resolution before the case goes to hearing.

How Does Oyster Help?

Because Oyster professionals come from a variety of backgrounds, their expertise is valued by hearing panels, who rely on their experience in the broker-dealer industry and as industry regulators. Oyster experts can provide clarity to hearing panelists on a range of complex matters. These might include assessment of damages, the explanation of different kinds of financial products and their risks, or an evaluation of the adequacy of supervision by an employer broker-dealer.

Oyster professionals have been qualified as experts in a wide variety of legal proceedings and have worked with both plaintiffs and defense in civil and criminal matters, in federal, state and arbitration proceedings. Consistent with the requirements of the Federal Rules of Evidence, Oyster’s team of professionals has over 800 years of subject matter experience in the financial services industry and as regulators at the SEC, FINRA and state levels. Our areas of expertise cover every aspect of the financial services industry, including compliance, operations and regulatory standards.

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