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Late in 2015, the FINRA Dispute Resolution Task Force, a group formed solely for the purpose of systematically assessing and critiquing securities arbitration, released its Final Report and Recommendations. The report contains 51 individual recommendations designed to improve FINRA's heavily-regulated dispute resolution program. Some recommendations offer specific details on implementation; others urge conceptual reform of a particular aspect of the arbitration process but leave FINRA to take care of fleshing out the details.

This article briefly describes the task force's formation; highlights its key recommendations (such as requiring mediation before arbitration of all claims-- subject to party opt-out, and introducing a more affordable, live hearing option for small claims); analyzes in more detail a few more controversial suggestions (such as expressly banning class action waivers in customer agreements and increasing the use of explained awards), and critiques the task force's inability to reach consensus on other hot-button issues, such as mandatory arbitration.