Arbitrators would be given the discretion to relieve parties of the obligation to provide certain documents. But it's unlikely they'll use that power, says Jonathan Uretsky, a New York-based securities lawyer who represents brokerages. "They will want the documents produced and they'll deal with them later," he predicted.

Uretsky is concerned about a provision that would allow a customer, in cases where he or she believes a brokerage failed to adequately supervise a broker, to examine documents that go beyond those concerned with the customer's own account. Investors could, under the proposal, potentially seek certain internal reports that may cross a broker's desk.

"It would be a huge fishing expedition," he says.

Laurence Schultz, a lawyer in Troy, Mich., also used the same term to describe what the proposal could mean for wronged investors.

That may be the only point on which the two sides can ultimately agree.

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