Tuesday, March 31, 2009

NASAA Launches ARS Arbitration Information Center

The North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) announced today that it has launched a new website to assist auction rate securities (ARS) investors with the arbitration of their claims.

According to NASAA, the settlements reached by state securities regulators with several major brokerage firms have resulted in the return of more than $60 billion to ARS investors. The settlements further provide, however, that ARS investors who are also seeking consequential damages may elect to pursue their claims using a "special arbitration procedure." Under the special procedure, all settling firms have agreed to pay forum costs, while most have agreed to pay filing fees. Moreover, the claims are brought before a single public arbitrator, rather than the mixed public-private panels found in the standard arbitration process governed by FINRA.

The website is intended to guide investors step-by-step through the arbitration process. Investors first identify the brokerage firm, then identify the state (if applicable) and download the documents they need. Currently, the website provides information pertaining to the arbitration of claims against Citigroup and Wachovia. Investors are instructed to "stay tuned" for more information.