Initial Pre-Hearing Conference
Once the panel is appointed, FINRA schedules the Initial Pre-Hearing Conference (IPHC). The IPHC is the first time that the parties and arbitrators meet, via video or audio conference, to set the schedule for the case. During this conference, the arbitration panel will schedule evidentiary hearing dates, establish discovery deadlines, set briefing and motion deadlines, determine whether mediation is desirable, and address other preliminary matters.
Other Pre-Hearing Conferences
After the IPHC, the arbitrators may need to convene additional pre-hearing conferences with the parties to resolve issues or disputes, e.g., discovery, motions.
Virtual Pre-Hearing Conferences
On February 22, 2022, FINRA Dispute Resolution Services began two pilot programs with some pre-hearing conferences held on the Zoom platform with video and some without video. Starting on July 1, 2022, there will only be one pilot program. All pre-hearing conferences will be held on the Zoom platform with video. As always, the panel may order, or the parties may agree, that a pre-hearing conference be held another way.
Please go to the DR Portal for the link to join your pre-hearing conference. More information is available below, including questions and answers about using the DR Portal.
How Will I Know if My Pre-Hearing Conference is on the Zoom platform?
In the DR Portal, you will see your pre-hearing conference listed under “Arbitration Hearings.” The pre-hearing conference will be on Zoom if you see “Zoom Meeting” in the Location field.
How Do I Access the DR Portal?
The website for the DR Portal is drportal.finra.org. Information about using the DR Portal is available at: DR Portal, Dispute Resolution User Guides and Frequently Asked Questions, DR Portal How-To Videos, and DR Portal Quick Reference Help Guides.
Contact your Case Administrator if a Zoom link is not provided. If you experience any difficulties logging into the DR Portal, please contact the FINRA Support Center at (301) 590-6500. If you experience technical difficulties using the DR Portal other than issues logging in, please contact the DR Portal Help Desk at (800) 700-7065. Arbitrators and mediators with portal questions may contact the department of Neutral Management at (855) 209-1620 or (212) 858-3999.
How Do I Know if My Zoom Pre-Hearing Conference is Audio Only?
The pre-hearing conference will be audio only if, in the DR Portal, the Hearing Format is “Telephonic.” Please refrain from turning on your camera to appear on video.
How Do I Know if My Zoom Pre-Hearing Conference is on Video?
The pre-hearing conference will be on video if, in the DR Portal, the Hearing Format is “Video.” Please turn on your camera to appear on video.
Can I Add the Zoom Meeting to My Calendar?
Yes. In the DR Portal, look at the Arbitration Hearings for your case. You will see “+ Zoom Meeting…” under the Location column. Click on it to see the details for the Zoom Meeting. Click on “Add to Calendar” to download a calendar file. Once the file downloads, open it and accept the invite to add it to your calendar. Contact your Case Administrator if a calendar file is not provided.
How Do I Join a Pre-Hearing Conference on Zoom?
You have three options. Contact your Case Administrator if you need help.
- In the DR Portal, click on “Go to Zoom Meeting” to join on your device.
- You may dial-in to the Zoom meeting. In the DR Portal, click on the “+” next to “Zoom Meeting” to see the meeting details. Dial the phone number and enter the Meeting ID and Password when prompted.
- If you added the Zoom meeting invite to your calendar, use the link provided there to join the pre-hearing conference. Please remember that if the information changes on the DR Portal, you must update your calendar. The information will not automatically update.
I am a pro se party and I am not registered on the DR Portal. Will I receive the same information that is provided on the DR Portal?
Yes. FINRA staff will provide you with details for the pre-hearing conference.
FINRA Scheduled My Pre-Hearing Conference on Video. Can It Be Changed to Audio Only?
FINRA highly encourages the use of video for a more satisfying pre-hearing conference experience. However, the panel may order an audio-only pre-hearing conference, or the parties may jointly agree to an audio-only pre-hearing conference.
FINRA Scheduled My Pre-Hearing Conference With Audio Only. Can It Be Changed to Video?
The panel may order a pre-hearing conference with video, or the parties may jointly agree to a pre-hearing conference with video.
I Don’t Know What I Need for a Zoom Pre-Hearing Conference or What to Expect During a Zoom Pre-Hearing Conference. Is More Information Available?
Find more information for parties about virtual pre-hearing conferences at: Party Resource Guide for Virtual Pre-Hearing Conferences.
Find more information for arbitrators about virtual pre-hearing conferences and using Zoom at: Arbitrator Resource Guide for Virtual Pre-Hearing Conferences and Arbitrator Training Videos for Virtual Hearings.
What if I Need Additional Help With Zoom?
Parties and arbitrators may request a practice session with FINRA staff or ask FINRA staff questions about using Zoom.