Initial Pre-Hearing Conference
After the selection of the arbitrators is complete and the parties have filed their lists with FINRA, the panel is appointed. FINRA will then notify all parties, or their counsel, of the pre-determined date and time for the initial pre-hearing conference (IPHC), pursuant to FINRA Rule 13500.
The initial pre-hearing conference is a telephonic hearing scheduled requiring the attendance of all parties or their counsel and the entire panel. Generally, the conference call is called to order by a FINRA coordinator. Thereafter, the chairperson takes over the call and conducts the hearing. All parties are required to announce who they are and who they represent. The arbitrators announce their attendance, whether they are public or non-public and whether they have any additional disclosures to the parties that were not on their biographical sheets or otherwise that would cause them to be unable to serve as fair and impartial panel members. The parties are then asked to confirm acceptance of the composition of the panel.
The next portion of the conference call is related to the scheduling of the actual arbitration hearing dates, discovery cutoff dates, motion dates, conference call dates, whether the parties agree to direct communication with the panel, the date for the exchange of witnesses and exhibits and a date for the filing of briefs, if any.