6898. Consolidated Audit Trail—Fee Dispute Resolution
(1) For purposes of this Rule, the terms "CAT NMS Plan", "Industry Member", "Operating Committee", and "Participant" are defined as set forth in Rule 6810 (Consolidated Audit Trail—Definitions).
(2) "Subcommittee" means a subcommittee designated by the Operating Committee pursuant to the CAT NMS Plan.
(3) "CAT Fee" means any fees contemplated by the CAT NMS Plan and imposed on Industry Members pursuant to FINRA Rules.
(b) Fee Dispute Resolution
Disputes initiated by an Industry Member with respect to CAT Fees charged to such Industry Member, including disputes related to the designated tier and the fee calculated pursuant to such tier, shall be resolved by the Operating Committee, or a Subcommittee designated by the Operating Committee, of the CAT NMS Plan, pursuant to the Fee Dispute Resolution Procedures adopted pursuant to the CAT NMS Plan and set forth in paragraph (c) of this Rule. Decisions on such matters shall be binding on Industry Members, without prejudice to the rights of any such Industry Member to seek redress from the SEC or in any other appropriate forum.
(c) Fee Dispute Resolution Procedures under the CAT NMS Plan
(1) Scope of Procedures
These Fee Dispute Resolution Procedures provide the procedure for Industry Members that dispute CAT Fees charged to such Industry Member, including disputes related to the designated tier and the fee calculated pursuant to such tier, to apply for an opportunity to be heard and to have the CAT Fees charged to such Industry Member reviewed.
(2) Submission and Time Limitation on Application to CAT NMS, LLC ("Company")
An Industry Member that disputes CAT Fees charged to such Industry Member and that desires to have an opportunity to be heard with respect to such disputed CAT Fees shall file a written application with the Company within 15 business days after being notified of such disputed CAT Fees. The application shall identify the disputed CAT Fees, state the specific reasons why the applicant takes exception to such CAT Fees, and set forth the relief sought. In addition, if the applicant intends to submit any additional documents, statements, arguments or other material in support of the application, the same should be so stated and identified.
(3) Procedure Following Applications for Hearing
(A) Fee Review Subcommittee
The Company will refer applications for hearing and review promptly to the Subcommittee designated by the Operating Committee pursuant to Section 4.12 of the CAT NMS Plan with responsibility for conducting the reviews of CAT Fee disputes pursuant to these Fee Dispute Resolution Procedures. This Subcommittee will be referred to as the Fee Review Subcommittee. The members of the Fee Review Subcommittee will be subject to the provisions of Section 4.3(d) of the CAT NMS Plan regarding recusal and Conflicts of Interest.
The Fee Review Subcommittee will keep a record of the proceedings.
(C) Hearings and Documents
The Fee Review Subcommittee will hold hearings promptly. The Fee Review Subcommittee will set a hearing date. The parties to the hearing (as described in paragraph (c)(4)(A) below) shall furnish the Fee Review Subcommittee with all materials relevant to the proceedings at least 72 hours prior to the date of the hearing. Each party shall have the right to inspect and copy the other party's materials prior to the hearing.
(4) Hearing and Decision
The parties to the hearing shall consist of the applicant and a representative of the Company who shall present the reasons for the action taken by the Company that allegedly aggrieved the applicant.
The applicant is entitled to be accompanied, represented and advised by counsel at all stages of the proceedings.
(C) Conduct of Hearing
The Fee Review Subcommittee shall determine all questions concerning the admissibility of evidence and shall otherwise regulate the conduct of the hearing. Each of the parties shall be permitted to make an opening statement, present witnesses and documentary evidence, cross examine opposing witnesses and present closing arguments orally or in writing as determined by the Fee Review Subcommittee. The Fee Review Subcommittee also shall have the right to question all parties and witnesses to the proceeding. The Fee Review Subcommittee shall keep a record of the hearing. The formal rules of evidence shall not apply.
The Fee Review Subcommittee shall set forth its decision in writing and send the written decision to the parties to the proceeding. Such decisions shall contain the reasons supporting the conclusions of the Fee Review Subcommittee.
The decision of the Fee Review Subcommittee shall be subject to review by the Operating Committee either on its own motion within 20 business days after issuance of the decision or upon written request submitted by the applicant within 15 business days after issuance of the decision. The applicant's petition shall be in writing and specify the findings and conclusions to which the applicant objects, together with the reasons for such objections. Any objection to a decision not specified in writing shall be considered to have been abandoned and may be disregarded. Parties may petition to submit a written argument to the Operating Committee and may request an opportunity to make an oral argument before the Operating Committee. The Operating Committee shall have sole discretion to grant or deny either request.
(B) Conduct of Review
The Operating Committee shall conduct the review. The review shall be made upon the record and shall be made after such further proceedings, if any, as the Operating Committee may order. Based upon such record, the Operating Committee may affirm, reverse or modify, in whole or in part, the decision of the Fee Review Subcommittee. The decision of the Operating Committee shall be in writing, shall be sent to the parties to the proceeding and shall be final.
(6) Time Limit for Review
A final decision regarding the disputed CAT Fees by the Operating Committee, or the Fee Review Subcommittee (if there is no review by the Operating Committee), must be provided within 90 days of the date on which the Industry Member filed a written application regarding disputed CAT Fees with the Company pursuant to paragraph (c)(2) of these Fee Dispute Resolution Procedures. The Operating Committee may extend the 90-day time limit under this paragraph (c)(6) at its discretion.
(7) Miscellaneous Provisions
(A) Service of Notice
Any notices or other documents may be served upon the applicant either personally or by leaving the same at its, his or her place of business or by deposit in the United States post office, postage prepaid, by registered or certified mail, addressed to the applicant at its, his or her last known business or residence address.
(B) Extension of Certain Time Limits
Any time limits imposed under these Fee Dispute Resolution Procedures for the submission of answers, petitions or other materials may be extended by permission of the Operating Committee. All papers and documents relating to review by the Fee Review Subcommittee or the Operating Committee must be submitted to the Fee Review Subcommittee or Operating Committee, as applicable.
(8) Agency Review
Decisions on such CAT Fee disputes made pursuant to these Fee Dispute Resolution Procedures shall be binding on Industry Members, without prejudice to the rights of any such Industry Member to seek redress from the SEC or in any other appropriate forum.
(9) Payment of Disputed CAT Fees
(A) Timing of Fee Payment
An Industry Member that files a written application with the Company regarding disputed CAT Fees in accordance with these Fee Dispute Resolution Procedures is not required to pay such disputed CAT Fees until the dispute is resolved in accordance with these Fee Dispute Resolution Procedures, including any review pursuant to paragraph (c)(8). For the purposes of this paragraph (c)(9), the disputed CAT Fees means the amount of the invoiced CAT Fees that the Industry Member has asserted pursuant to these Fee Dispute Resolution Procedures that such Industry Member does not owe to the Company. The Industry Member must pay any invoiced CAT Fees that are not disputed CAT Fees when due as set forth in the original invoice.
(B) Interest on Unpaid CAT Fees
Once the dispute regarding CAT Fees is resolved pursuant to these Fee Dispute Resolution Procedures, if it is determined that the Industry Member owes any of the disputed CAT Fees, then the Industry Member must pay such disputed CAT Fees that are owed as well as interest on such disputed CAT Fees from the original due date (that is, 30 days after receipt of the original invoice of such CAT Fees) until such disputed CAT Fees are paid at a per annum rate equal to the lesser of (i) the Prime Rate plus 300 basis points, or (ii) the maximum rate permitted by applicable law.
Adopted by SR-FINRA-2017-020 eff. Dec. 1, 2017.
Selected Notice: 17-39.