The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority yesterday announced that it will launch a two-year pilot program this fall that aims to give investors a broader choice when selecting a panel to arbitrate a dispute.

The pilot program comes as investor advocates and the securities industry have begun an incipient battle over the benefits of arbitration. Critics say that investors suffer when they are forced into so-called pre-dispute arbitration agreements that most brokerage firms require clients to sign before buying or selling securities. A bill in Congress would ban such agreements.

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