Twenty years ago, in Shearson/American Express, Inc. v. McMahon, the Supreme Court held that brokerage firms could require their customers to arbitrate all their disputes in industry-sponsored fora - a decision that had great significance for the law of arbitration as well as securities regulation. In 1996, a blue-ribbon task force released its report, assessing the securities arbitration process at National Association of Securities Dealers, Inc. (NASD), the principal securities arbitration forum, and the report led to several symposia on the topic coinciding with the tenth anniversary of McMahon. Since then, arbitration scholars and practitioners have intensified the debate over the fairness of arbitration, both generally and specifically in the context of brokerage customers' disputes. In addition, in the last ten years, the stock market has undergone a boom and bust cycle that generated a record number of customers' claims filed at NASD; the securities industry has continued to market new investment products, strategies, and services for retail investors; and the aging population has increasingly become aware of the importance of investing for retirement, but has also become susceptible to deceptive promises offering freedom from financial worries. As a result of these developments, now is an opportune time for a re-examination of arbitration and investors' remedies.
Black, Barbara, "Working Toward Fair Treatment for Retail Investors" (2008). Faculty Articles and Other Publications. Paper 56.