(October 11): Latest issue of "The Expert's Examiner" published by the Securities Experts Roundtable. I contributed a column on arbitration developments
(October 11): Blog post on the proposed Whistleblower Program Improvement Act.
(October 6): My feature article in the Securities Arbitration Commentator, on the slew of anti-arbitration bills winding their way through Congress.
(September 27): My blog post on House passage of the arbitration FAIR Act.
(September 23): Quoted in this Financial Adviser Magazine story, Bill Ending Mandatory Arbitration In Advisor, Broker Contracts Clears House: “I don’t see the Senate approving this bill, but I can see them coming out with their own version,” said George Friedman, a former director of Finra arbitration.
Friedman said he thought the House bill needed a good deal of work and would prefer that it offered investors the right to choose arbitration at the outset of a relationship.
“I have my accounts with Merrill and this statute would retroactively nullify the arbitration clause I signed with them,” said Friedman, who left Finra six years ago and is now editor of Securities Arbitration Alert and a professor of law at Fordham University.
Friedman said if given the choice by Merrill Lynch, he would sign the mandatory arbitration clause all over again. “I would sign it absolutely. Court is very expensive and in the state of New York cases are subject to three levels of appeals. Court cases take a long time and are very costly,” he said.
Arbitration has another benefit, said Friedman. "Finra will enforce arbitration as well. If a broker or firm doesn’t pay, they’ll take away your license,” he said.
(Sep. 19): Quoted in this InvestmentNews story, House Approves Bill That Would End Mandatory Arbitration in Broker, Adviser Contracts: “"If it became law, Finra arbitration would become voluntary," said George Friedman, a former director of Finra arbitration. "Predispute arbitration agreements for investors and industry employees would be void."
But the bill's legislative prospects are limited. It got through the House with the support of only two Republicans. A companion bill in the Republican-majority Senate has 34 co-sponsors, all of whom are Democrats."It's an uphill battle in the Senate," said Mr. Friedman, who runs an eponymous consulting firm and is an adjunct professor of law at Fordham University.
(Sep. 16): More about my assuming the Editor-in-Chief role for the weekly online Securities Arbitration Alert.
(July 31): Read about my assuming the Editor-in-Chief role for the weekly online Securities Arbitration Alert.
(Mar. 22): My guest blog post on the latest round of anti-mandatory arbitration bills introduced by Congressional Democrats.
(Mar. 4): Quoted in this InvestmentNews story, Bills Would End Mandatory Arbitration in Adviser, Broker Contracts: “In my view, neither of these bills is going to get enacted," said George Friedman, former director of Finra arbitration. "They will pass the House. I expect they will die in the Senate.”
“It's not going to be smooth sailing for Finra or the SEC," said Mr. Friedman, an adjunct professor of law at Fordham University. "The commission may feel some pressure to take a look at arbitration given that Dodd-Frank authorizes it to study the process."
(Feb 21): Featured in this story, SER Member In NJ Clinic Confab with SEC Commissioner: “SER member George Friedman participated in a small group discussion on February 7 at the Seton Hall University School of Law in Newark, hosted by the School’s Investor Advocacy Project. The evening roundtable featured SEC Commissioner Robert L. Jackson, Jr.”
(Feb. 13): My blog post on the surprising relationships between presidents and arbitration.
(Jan. 15): Quoted in this InvestmentNews story, Mandatory Arbitration Isn't Just for Brokers — Some Investment Advisers Rely on It: "It's not surprising that the majority of investment adviser cases end up at AAA," said George Friedman, a former Finra arbitration director and an adjunct law professor at Fordham University.
(Dec. 31): My blog post with my alternative dispute resolution predictions for 2019.
(Dec. 27): My blog post evaluating how I fared in my 2018 ADR predictions (part 2). Spoiler alert: pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good.
(Dec. 24): My blog post evaluating how I fared in my 2018 ADR predictions (part 1).
(Nov. 9): My blog post, on what the 2018 midterm election results mean for arbitration and the financial services field.
(Oct. 22): Delighted to have given a guest lecture to the Seton Hall Law School investor rights clinic.
(Sep. 13): Delighted to have been a panelist for a Podcast by the Securities Arbitration Commentator: Employment Issues in Securities Arbitration in the Wake of Epic Systems
(Aug. 23): My blog post, demonstrating why the Cold War-era codification on the Federal Arbitration Act is in need of updating and modernizing.
(Aug 17): An update of an old blog post I wrote a few years ago: "Arbitration – Still the Wave of the Future?"
(Aug. 9): My blog post, describing enforcement of foreign arbitration awards.
(Aug. 2): My blog post measuring how my final three of six consumer and employment arbitration predictions for 2018 are working out so far.
(July 24): My blog post measuring how my first three of six consumer and employment arbitration predictions for 2018 are working out so far.
(July 9): My blog post on the Supreme Court's decision in Epic Systems and what it means for securities employment arbitration.
(July 3): My blog post on Independence Day and arbitration. Who knew many of the nation's founders were fans of arbitration?
(July 3): My blog post, discussing the three arbitration-related case SCOTUS will be hearing next Term, and what may be in store for securities arbitration.
(June 25): My feature article in the Securities Arbitration Commentator, on the Supreme Court's decision in Epic Systems and what it means for securities industry employment arbitration.
(June 22): Quoted in this Financial Advisor story, Market Volatility May Be Behind 47% Rise In Finra Cases: "Volatility for sure drives claims," said George Friedman, who served as Finra's director of arbitrations from 1998 to 2013 and now is principal of George H. Friedman Consulting LLC in Teaneck, N.J. Friedman, however, noted there have been periods of volatility so far this year, but it has not been sustained. In years past, he said, it was virtually guaranteed that a sustained correction would lead to an increase in arbitration filings several months later.He feels that although the Puerto Rico bond crisis has been ongoing for several years, filings may be up this year because attorneys are rushing to file their cases as they battle against the statute of limitations."On the customer side, I think it's predominantly the Puerto Rico cases," he said.
(Mar 7): Quoted in this InvestmentNews story, Finra unpaid arbitration increased in 2017, PIABA report finds: The idea of Finra using its surplus to fund unpaid arbitration didn't sit well with George Friedman, a former director of Finra arbitration who is now an adjunct professor at Fordham Law School. It could create a situation in which Finra may hope that customers don't win arbitration cases, he said on the PIABA conference call. "It concerns me that they're being set up in opposition to successful investors," Mr. Friedman said.
(Feb 13): My latest blog post, on the presidents and arbitration. There are lots of things most people don’t know. Example? George Washington’s Will calls for arbitration to settle fights between his heirs.
(Feb 9): Quoted in this InvestmentNews story, Finra: More than a quarter of arbitration awards go unpaid: "This is an unprecedented level of transparency," said George Friedman, who ran Finra arbitration from 1998-2013. "They're admitting there's a problem, laying it out and convening a high-level group to address potential solutions."
(Dec 27): My blog post, laying out my bold and fearless alternative dispute resolution predictions for 2018.
(Dec 20): My blog post, where I review my arbitration predictions for 2017. Spoiler alert: Pretty, pretty, pretty, good.
(Nov 27): My blog post, on the bizarre and unprecedented news of two individuals claiming they are the rightful Acting Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
(Nov 1): My blog post, where I suggest new approaches in the wake of the nullification today of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's arbitration rule.
(October 25): Quoted in this InvestmentNews story, Senate's takedown of the CFPB's class-action rule may pave way for challenge to Finra policy: George H. Friedman, former director of Finra arbitration and an adjunct professor at Fordham University law school, also believes recent developments in Washington will "embolden" brokerage firms, but doubts that Finra will change the policy on its own. "I think there will definitely be pressure from the industry, saying, 'Take a look at this [rule]. Things have changed,'" Mr. Friedman said. "Do I think Finra will change its policy? Absolutely not," he added.
(October 19): Quoted in this InvestmentNews story, Finra rule would let investors take arb claims to court if broker goes bankrupt during proceeding: "It's a logical, positive extension of Finra's effort to protect investors dealing with defunct firms," said George Friedman, an adjunct law professor at Fordham University and a former director of Finra arbitration.
(August 31): Quoted in this InvestmentNews story, Trump administration targets class-action right in DOL fiduciary rule, but other legal avenues could remain for investors, on whether FINRA might be changing its policy banning investor waivers of the right to participate in class action lawsuits: "Finra views [allowing class actions] as a reasonable step to protect investors," said George Friedman, an adjunct law professor at Fordham University and a former Finra director of arbitration. "I don't see the delay in the DOL rule having any effect on their thinking."
(August 21): My feature article in the Securities Arbitration Commentator, on the thirtieth anniversary of the landmark McMahon decision permitting arbitration of securities disputes.
(July 7): Quoted in this InvestmentNews story on the potential impact on FINRA of a pending Supreme Court case: "There would be political pressure brought to bear on Finra to change its policy if the government's position on class-action waivers is upheld by the court," said George Friedman, an adjunct professor of law at Fordham University. "Finra's policy would withstand a legal challenge. As the regulator, Finra is permitted to establish reasonable regulations governing the conduct of the securities industry." Although the Trump administration and Finra diverge on class-action waivers, they're in sync on arbitration as a means of remediation: "There's no question this administration is pro-arbitration," Mr. Friedman said.
(June 30): Who knew that in 1733 a dispute over the construction of what was to become Independence Hall in Philadelphia was submitted to arbitration? Check out my blog post.
(June 20): My blog post, where I check in on my 2017 arbitration predictions.
(May 22): Quoted in this InvestmentNews story on a FINRA proposal to reduce unpaid arbitration awards: "But George Friedman, who served as director of Finra arbitration from 1998-2013, said the Finra board took a significant step with its proposals. Previously, Finra allowed clients to take a defunct brokerage to court prior to initiating an arbitration proceeding. Now, Finra is allowing clients to shift gears and go to court while arbitration is underway.'To change in the middle is a big deal,' said Mr. Friedman, owner of an eponymous consulting firm. 'It's unprecedented in my experience.' Finra is moving slowly but surely to address weaknesses surrounding arbitration payments, he said. 'Finra tends to work incrementally,' Mr. Friedman said."
(May 19): My blog post, published by Arbitration Resolution Services, where I analyze the Supreme Court's decision in Kindred Nursing Centers.
(May 12): Delighted to have been a panelist for a Podcast by the Securities Arbitration Commentator: Arbitration in 2017 and Beyond: Making Arbitration Great Again
(May 5): My blog post, published in the Securities Arbitration Commentator, where I review "First Hundred Days" activity impacting the arbitration and the financial worlds.
(April 28): My blog post, published in the Securities Arbitration Commentator blog, where I analyze the ten anti-arbitration bills that have been introduced so far this year. I actually think one of them may become law.... read on.
(Mar. 13): My blog post, ARS can forecast that experts and arbitrators are ready for cloud-based ADR… And snow is on the way, combining three of my great interests: arbitration; the weather; and technology.
(March 10): My guest analysis in the Securities Arbitration Commentator on several anti-mandatory-arbitration bills introduced in Congress by Democrats.
(Feb 23): Quoted in this InvestmentNews story, Rising markets keep advisers out of arbitration: There has not been a wave of new arbitration disputes because the market has been good to brokerage clients. "People don't fight so much when they're making money," said George Friedman, a former Finra arbitration director and owner of an eponymous consulting firm. "They fight more when they're losing."
(Feb 16): My blog post, The Presidents and Arbitration: from Washington to Trump, on the often surprising interplay between our Presidents and arbitration.
(Feb 8): Delighted to be contributing to Fordham Law School's faculty "Transition to Trump" blog: Trump in Charge – What Does It Mean for Arbitration?
(Feb 2): My blog post on Supreme Court nominee Gorsuch and arbitration. Spoiler alert: he seems to be pro-arbitration.
(Jan 20): My blog post on what the Trump Administration portends for arbitration. Spoiler alert: it's good news.
(Jan 19): My guest analysis about the Supreme Court agreeing to review three cases involving arbitration.
(Jan 6): My guest analysis on whether the new year will bring renewed appreciation for FINRA's arbitration program.
(Dec 21): Referenced in Private Justice: Losing Our Day in Court in "Alternatives" magazine, published by the Center for Public Resources: "The [arbitration] clauses are in the sights of other federal agencies as well. See George H. Friedman, Mandatory Consumer Arbitration on the Eve of the Election, Securities Arbitration Commentator (Nov. 1, 2016)(available at http://bit.ly/2feHccg)(discussing action on arbitration at six federal agencies). In post-election prognostication, the same author suggests that the pending rules are not likely to be approved. George H. Friedman, The Election is Finally Over—What Does It Mean for Arbitration? Securities Arbitration Commentator (Nov. 15, 2016)(available at http://bit.ly/2gjd6GC). New initiatives, moreover, are likely to enhance, not weaken, the case for mandatory arbitration, putting the brakes on what was a momentum to limit or narrow its use. Id."
(Dec 21): My blog post, laying out my prognostications for 2017 on alternative dispute resolution.
(Dec 15): My blog post comparing my 2016 arbitration predictions with reality.Spoiler alert: I batted .833.
(Nov 10): My blog post on what the election means for arbitration. Spoiler alert: it's good news.
(Nov 1): My blog post, on the state of mandatory arbitration on the eve of the election.
(Oct 28): Right after the election I plan to do a blog post on what the election results mean for arbitration, like I did two years ago. Should be interesting no matter what happens.
(Sep 30): Quoted in the InvestmentNews story, Thrivent Financial files sixth lawsuit against DOL fiduciary rule, on possible Federal Arbitration Act preemption of the Department of Labor's rule banning class action waivers: "An arbitration expert said the DOL can point to statutory authority to regulate retirement accounts, but may not be on the same solid ground when it comes to the arbitration provision. 'It's an open question whether they're going to prevail on the Federal Arbitration Act,' said George Friedman, a consultant and former head of Finra arbitration."
(Sep 15): My feature article from the Securities Arbitration Commentator's Online Securities Litigation Alert, on the coming showdown at the Supreme Court between the Federal Arbitration Act and the National Labor Relations Act. Spoiler alert: the FAA will win.
(Sep 15): My blog post, based on the article above.
(August 26): Quoted in a blog post on CFPB's proposed rule banning class action waivers in consumer financial arbitration: "Other supportive letters were filed by: Americans for Financial Reform, the Center for Justice and Democracy, the Leadership Council on Civil and Human Rights, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and Ex-FINRA Director of Arbitration George Friedman, whose May 26th letter expresses a view stated by several commenters: the proposed rules takes a sound approach mirroring that of FINRA: He also focused on an aspect of the proposed rule that has not garnered much attention: 'CFPB is correct in intending to regulate the content of arbitration clauses in consumer financial contracts. FINRA Rule 2268 offers an excellent model.'”
(Aug 5): Here's my blog post, on the perplexing propensity of online businesses like Uber to use brick-and-mortar arbitration.
(June 30): My blog post. Happy Independence Day! Although America’s founders came from diverse political and socioeconomic backgrounds, some seemed to like arbitration. In this blog post, I’ve collected some snippets on a few well-known signers of the Declaration of Independence, and some famous non-signer patriots.
(June 9): My blog post, on a proposal to amend the FINRA arbitration rules to default to an explained award (any party could opt out).
(May 27): My comment letter supporting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's proposed rule banning class action waivers in consumer financial arbitration.
(May 25): Moderated a Podcast for the Securities Arbitration Commentator, The FINRA Dispute Resolution Task Force has issued its Final Report: Now What? Article is linked here and podcast recording is here. SAC blog post is here.
(May 25): My comment letter filed with the SEC, urging approval of a proposed FINRA rule allowing offsets in arbitration awards.
As was said in the movie, Poltergeist, "They're Ba-ack!"
Once again, the Times mounts an attack on arbitration that's long on anecdote and short on data. While stories from one side can be both entertaining and compelling, to quote my old Statistics 101 prof from college, "Anecdote doesn't constitute data." Where is the proof that arbitration is bad for consumers/employees or that class actions benefit these parties (and, no, citing the Times' interminable "investigation" from last Fall that was also long on stories and short on data doesn't count)?
Mind you, my personal view is that consumers/employees should have a choice on whether to participate in a class action, as has been the rule at FINRA for many years, and as the Department of Labor's new fiduciary standard rule provides, and as the CFPB has recently proposed, but broadside attacks on the arbitration process not based on data is not appropriate.
(May 9): Quoted in this InvestmentNews story, Finra approves larger public arbitrator list for cases:“It is a harbinger of more changes coming from the task force recommendations,” said George Friedman, head of Finra arbitration from 1998-2013 who now runs an eponymous consulting firm.
(May 9): My blog post, analyzing the legality of the CFPB's recent rule filing banning class action waivers in consumer-financial arbitration agreements.
(May 4): My blog post, describing the 5th Circuit's ruling in Pershing LLC v. Kiebach that the “amount in controversy” for FAA federal jurisdiction is determined by what was demanded in the underlying arbitration, not what the arbitrators actually awarded.
(April 21): My blog post, examining some recent federal court decisions reminding us that the Federal Arbitration Act does not confer an independent basis for federal jurisdiction.
(April 7): My blog post, on the Department of Labor's embrace of arbitration of disputes involving advice on retirement accounts.
(March 29): My blog post, this one on the growing court system respect for mediation.
(March 24): My blog post, on 2016 goals and plans for FINRA's dispute resolution forum.
(March 8): My comment on this article Do You Really Need Rental Car Insurance? 8 Things to Know in the New York Times. Short and sweet: litigation stinks and class actions are worse.
(Feb 14): My blog post, on the Restoring Statutory Rights Act, also known as the latest ill-fated legislative effort to attack arbitration.
(Feb 2): Here's my blog post piece showing that arbitration - "The Wave of the Future" - really isn't so new, but that new ways of arbitrating abound.
(Feb 1): With President's Day coming up, here's my blog post published in the NY State Bar Association's Resolution Roundtable blog, exploring some surprising facts about our Commanders-in-Chief and arbitration. Republished here. Enjoy!
(Jan 25): See my blog post, which somehow manages to link the Great Blizzard of 2016 with online dispute resolution. To see how, read on....
(Jan 17): I will be a panelist January 26th on Money Never Sleeps, Neither does its Enforcement, at Cardozo Law's Public Law Advocacy Week.
(Dec 28): See my blog post, featuring my fearless alternative dispute resolution predictions for 2016.
(Dec 18): See my blog post, where I circle back to gauge the accuracy of my arbitration predictions for 2015. Spoiler alert: had I been batting third for the Mets with this batting average, they would have won the World Series.
(Dec 16): Quoted in this Investment News story on the Final Report of FINRA's Dispute Resolution Task Force. “Given the diverse nature of the task force, it's to their credit that the group reached consensus on so many issues that, if implemented, will significantly improve the Finra arbitration forum,” George Friedman, a former director of Finra arbitration, wrote in an email. “I'm not surprised they could not reach a consensus on mandatory arbitration. That ball is squarely in the SEC's court.”
(Dec 15): Quoted in Law360: Attys React To Supreme Court's DirecTV Arbitration Decision. "This decision is not at all surprising, looking at the continuum of recent Supreme Court cases such as Concepcion dealing with the Federal Arbitration Act," said George Friedman. "The court here is reaffirming in no uncertain terms that state laws that undermine arbitration are preempted by the FAA, and that state courts must follow this ruling whether or not they like it. In fact, the opinion has some rather strong language pointing that the FAA 'is a law of the United States, and Concepcion is an authoritative interpretation of that act. Consequently, the judges of every state must follow it.'”
(Dec 14): Supreme Courts holds 6-3 in DirecTV v.Imburgia that Federal Arbitration Act preempts application of California law barring class action waivers in arbitration clauses.
(Dec 8): See my blog post giving FINRA credit for improving transparency in its dispute resolution program.
(Dec 5): See my article offering practical tips on mediation, published in California Lawyer.
(Dec 1): See my comment posted on the NY State Bar Association's dispute resolution blog, on whether arbitrators who are consultants should accept an engagement from a party that previously appeared before them. Short answer: "No, it looks bad."
(Nov 9): Delighted my recent blog post on the NY Times arbitration series has been republished by the New York State Bar Association's "Resolution Roundtable" Blog
(Nov 5): Quoted in the November issue of Alternatives, published by the Center for Public Resources: "George H. Friedman, a New Jersey ADR consultant and former Finra executive vice president and arbitration director, notes in an email, “I was surprised that CFPB’s proposal does not ban pre-dispute arbitration agreements for now. I had thought a CFPB ban on PDAAs [pre-dispute arbitration agreements] was a foregone conclusion.”
(Nov 3): My blog post, where I critique what I believe is an unfair New York Times series on arbitration.
(Nov 2): Quoted in this Investment News story on FINRA's intentions to absorb the Dispute Resolution subsidiary into its Regulatory arm. “As a practical matter, I think the rule change is meant to reflect the situation as it has been on the ground for many years,” Mr. Friedman said.
(Archive - 2013: FINRA Dispute Resolution Director George Friedman Retires: "We will miss George Friedman. We are both grateful for knowing him and witnessing his accomplishments and eager to see what he will undertake next!
May 22, 2018 (New York, NY): Honored to have been a speaker at the AAA-ICDR Annual Luncheon memorializing ADR giant Robert "Bob" Coulson.
May 2017: Delighted to have been a panelist for a Podcast by the Securities Arbitration Commentator: Arbitration in 2017 and Beyond: Making Arbitration Great Again
July 22, 2016 (New York, NY): Delighted to have moderated a panel,The FINRA Dispute Resolution Task Force Report after seven months: Where are we now and where are we going? at the Annual Meeting of the Securities Experts Roundtable. Panelists were (L to R): Rick Berry (FINRA-Office of Dispute Resolution), Jenice Malecki (Malecki Law), Noah Sorkin (AIG Adviser Group), and Rick Ryder (Securities Arbitration Commentator).
April 2016: Again moderated a podcast for the Securities Arbitration Commentator, The FINRA Securities Dispute Resolution Task Force has issued its Final Report: Now What? The video will be posted soon. Check out past podcasts here.
February 2016: Enjoyed giving a guest lecture to the students of the NY Law School securities arbitration clinic.
January 2016: Delighted to have been a panelist on Enforcing Securities Laws, at Cardozo Law's Public Law Advocacy Week.
November 22, 2015 (Ithaca, NY): Happy to have served as a mediator at a mock mediation at the Securities Law Clinic of Cornell Law School. The clinic "provides legal services to small investors in upstate New York who have been the victims of investment fraud."
George H. Friedman In the News
The Wall Street Journal
The New York Times
Mandatory Arbitration Isn't Just for Brokers — Some Investment Advisers Rely on It - January 15, 2019
Supreme Court could put pressure on Finra class-action policy - July 7
Thrivent Financial files sixth lawsuit against DOL fiduciary rule - September 30, 2016
Finra task force calls for higher arbitrator pay, greater transparency - December 16, 2015
Investor lawyers say Finra moving too quickly on arbitration unit - November 2, 2015
Mandatory arbitration reform on the docket at CFPB - October 7, 2015
CFPB study reveals downside of mandatory arbitration - March 10, 2015
fINANCIAL aDVISER MAGAZINE
Bill Ending Mandatory Arbitration In Advisor, Broker Contracts Clears House September 23, 2019