Regulatory Notice 12-21

SEC Approves Amendments to Align FINRA Rules With Statutes That Invalidate Predispute Arbitration Agreements for Whistleblower Disputes

Effective Date: May 21, 2012

The SEC approved amendments to FINRA Rule 13201 of the Code of Arbitration Procedure for Industry Disputes (Industry Code) to provide that a dispute arising under a whistleblower statute that prohibits the use of predispute arbitration agreements is not required to be arbitrated under the Industry Code. Parties may arbitrate such a dispute only if they have agreed to arbitrate it after the dispute arose. The rule change aligns the Industry Code with statutes that invalidate predispute arbitration agreements for whistleblower disputes. The rule change also makes a conforming change to FINRA Rule 2263 (Arbitration Disclosure to Associated Persons Signing or Acknowledging Form U4).

The amendments to Rule 13201 are effective on May 21, 2012, for all whistleblower disputes arising under a statute that prohibits the use of predispute arbitration agreements, regardless of when the predispute arbitration agreement was executed. The amendments do not apply to any pending matters at FINRA. The conforming change to FINRA Rule 2263 also is effective on May 21, 2012.

The text of the amendments is set forth in Attachment A.

Questions concerning this Notice should be directed to:

  • Richard W. Berry, Senior Vice President and Director of Case Administration and Regional Office Services, Dispute Resolution, at (212) 858-4307 or email; or
  • Margo A. Hassan, Assistant Chief Counsel, Dispute Resolution, at (212) 858-4481 or email.