The NY Times writes about arbitration agreements, which most financial service firm require new clients to sign as part of new client intake. The articles notes:
If you have a problem with your investment broker and you cannot resolve the dispute on your own, you probably won’t get your day in court. But you will be heard, most likely in a conference room somewhere, before a panel of arbitrators.
The moment people open a brokerage or investment account, they most likely — and perhaps inadvertently — waive their right to sue. The fine print of most customer agreements almost always contains a clause that says the customer agree to resolve any future disputes through arbitration, largely through the forum operated by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Wall Street’s self-regulatory organization, known as Finra.