As the COVID-19 pandemic hit the nation, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority announced on March 25 that all in-person arbitration hearings were postponed. The postponement has been extended through Oct. 30, and further postponements are most certainly forthcoming. 

FINRA recently stated that, at an unspecified time in the future, it would begin assessing the viability of in-person hearings on a location-by-location basis.[1] However, FINRA also noted that "only a handful" of its 70 hearing locations across the country currently demonstrate "public health conditions that are consistent with [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidance for activities such as in-person hearings."

While FINRA did not specify which locations might allow for in-person hearings in the relatively near future, the states that currently have the lowest per capita rates of transmission with low positivity rates and new cases remaining flat or trending downward are: Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and Connecticut. These four states serve as the venue for about 1% of FINRA's 5,065 open cases as of the end of July.[2]

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