As someone who works as an investor, you probably understand the risks to your career if you fall under the accusation of violating securities laws or FINRA regulations. If you end up in this difficult situation, know that you can contest allegations of violating FINRA and have options to appeal if the ruling goes against you.
According to the FINRA website, the initial decision to sanction an investor or an entire firm comes from a three-person panel convened by the Office of Hearing Officers. If you fail to secure an acquittal from this panel, FINRA explains the various options available to appeal the ruling.
Appeals within FINRA
If the panel rules against you, it is possible FINRA’s National Adjudicatory Council may review the decision on its own, but if not, you as an individual or your firm may go ahead and appeal to the NAC to overturn the ruling. While the appeal is ongoing, the sanctions imposed on you or your firm will not go into effect. The NAC will determine if the decision met the sanction guidelines of FINRA, had the support of the facts of the case and if the decision met legal standards.
If the panel had misapplied the law or FINRA standards while arriving at the initial decision, the NAC may overturn it. If the NAC decides to let the decision stand, it is possible that FINRA’s Board of Governors may take a look at the NAC’s decision. This is another stage where you might seek a repeal of the decision against you.
You still have recourse to appeal your case beyond FINRA in the event your appeals within the organization do not pan out. You may take your case to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for review. If the SEC does not overturn the decision, you might then take your case to federal court. How you proceed with any appeal will depend on the individual circumstances of your case.