Arbitration has been gaining ground as the preferred method of dispute resolution in the financial services sector for years now and there is very little reason to think this trend will change. With the ongoing turmoil with government-funded programs such as Social Security, the continuing abandonment of old-style pensions and the resulting sharper focus on retirement and wealth-building, the financial services industry is itself experiencing a boom. The higher volume of clients and the larger volume of monies being managed inevitably brings a higher number of complaints and conflicts. The Financial Service Industry has found arbitration to be a superior choice to litigation for the same reasons as small business and individuals, and as a result arbitration is set to become even more common in the future.
The Benefits of Arbitration
The Financial Service Industry has found arbitration to be a better choice for three basic reasons:
Arbitration is Faster.
A recent international study has found that the average length of a civil trial is two and half years, while the average length of cases decided via arbitration is just 8.6 months. While there will always be exceptions to the rule, in general arbitration will always be a faster and more efficient solution.
Arbitration is More Affordable.
In part due to the speed of the process and in part due to the streamlined nature of the process – excluding much of the legal sparring that is involved in a lawsuit) – arbitration has less costs associated with the process than litigation. No matter what the actual costs of the arbitration process (the arbitrator’s fee, lawyers’ fees, room rental, etc.) the speed of resolution always results in real savings.
Arbitration is Friendlier.
The key word in ‘Financial Service’ is service. The industry has customers and clients, and as such has a stake in maintaining an amicable environment. Arbitration gives a sense of control to both parties and focuses on mutually satisfactory solutions to conflicts.
These three reasons point to a growing use of arbitration in the financial service industry. A final consideration is the cluttered state of court calendars; the delays between filing a lawsuit and actually getting a court date continue to widen, and even when a proceeding is begun continuances can sometimes interrupt court dates for weeks or months. This can only exacerbate what is already a painfully slow process and drive even reluctant parties to consider the speed and efficiency of the arbitration process.