FINRA arbitration is only required where the customer has signed an agreement waiving his rights to file a lawsuit in court and instead requiring him to file a FINRA arbitration. While most national and regional brokerage firms do require customers to sign FINRA arbitration agreements (because frankly brokerage firms believe the customers are treated less fairly in FINRA arbitration) many independent investment advisors, bank trust departments, life insurance salespersons, and some annuity salespersons do not require that FINRA arbitration agreements be executed by their customers in advance of them purchasing these types of investments.
While the securities fraud attorneys at Starr Austen & Miller have handled many securities cases of all types (including FINRA arbitration cases), we find that on many occasions our clients do better in court than they do in FINRA arbitration. Therefore it is extremely important that you hire a securities law firm who has experience and an established track record in representing investors in both FINRA arbitrations and in court.
Starr Austen & Miller is one such firm. (Many securities law firms specialize in FINRA arbitrations, but lack the experience and track record in handling securities cases before juries and therefore are not comfortable or experienced in going to court.)