Our Commitment to Achieving Arbitrator and Mediator Diversity at FINRA

WHY DIVERSITY IS IMPORTANT

Diversity and FINRA Arbitrator Recruitment

FINRA’s Office of Dispute Resolution strives to provide a fair, efficient and effective forum for investors, brokerage firms, and their registered employees to resolve their securities disputes and recognizes the importance of providing a diverse pool of arbitrators from which parties can choose. 

Richard W. Berry

“It’s vitally important that our pool of arbitrators reflects the varied backgrounds of the parties who use the FINRA arbitration forum. We have bolstered our recruitment efforts, both in terms of increasing the numbers and diversity — in age, gender, race, and occupation — and continue working toward this goal.”

Richard W. Berry
FINRA Executive Vice President and Director of Dispute Resolution

FINRA’s Office of Dispute Resolution embarked on an aggressive campaign to recruit new arbitrators with a particular focus on adding arbitrators from diverse backgrounds, professions, and geographical locations by: 

  • conducting outreach to more than 100 minority and women’s organizations
  • attending conferences that attract individuals of varied backgrounds
  • networking and hosting events with diversity-based organizations

“I’m on the NAMC and FINRA is recruiting people [as arbitrator applicants] like you wouldn’t believe! All kinds of diversity . . .”

Jenice Malecki
New York securities attorney, NAMC Member and former FINRA Arbitrator

“FINRA has been active in its efforts to recruit a diverse pool of arbitrators and mediators, and has made extraordinary strides since December 2015.”

Sandra D. Grannum
Partner, Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP and member of the FINRA Dispute Resolution Task Force

MAKING STEADY PROGRESS


To track our progress, we hired a third-party consultant to survey - on an anonymous and voluntary basis - the demographics of the arbitrators on our roster in 2015 and 2016. In sharing the findings, FINRA strives to provide transparency about the current makeup of our arbitrator roster. The survey results showed that of the new arbitrators who joined the roster in 2015, 4% were African-American and 26% were women. Of those who joined the roster in 2016, 14% were African-American and 33% were women. While we are encouraged by these short-term results and incremental progress made, we recognize this is a long-term effort. There is more progress to make and we remain fully committed toward achieving our diversity goals. 

Gender

  2016 Survey 2015 Survey
Demographic Neutrals that joined from October 2015 - October 2016 Overall Roster Neutrals that joined from October 2014 - October 2015 Overall Roster
Male 66% 74% 72% 75%
Female 33% 24% 26% 23%

Race

  2016 Survey 2015 Survey
Demographic Neutrals that joined from October 2015 - October 2016 Overall Roster Neutrals that joined from October 2014 - October 2015 Overall Roster
Caucasian 76% 86% 79% 86%
African-American 14% 5% 4% 4%
Spanish, Hispanic or Latino 7% 4% 17% 4%
Asian 3% 1% 2% 1%
Multi-Racial 2% 2% 7% 2%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0% <1% 0% <1%

LGBT Status

  2016 Survey 2015 Survey
Demographic Neutrals that joined from October 2015 - October 2016 Overall Roster Neutrals that joined from October 2014 - October 2015 Overall Roster
LGBT 3% 2% 3% 2%

Age

  2016 Survey 2015 Survey
Demographic Neutrals that joined from October 2015 - October 2016 Overall Roster Neutrals that joined from October 2014 - October 2015 Overall Roster
70 or older 15% 39% 12% 37%
69 to 61 30% 31% 29% 33%
60 or younger 54% 30% 58% 29%

Note: Consulting firm AON Hewitt conducted both surveys. Neutral responses were completely voluntary, confidential and anonymous. In the 2015 survey, the overall response rate was 68%. In the 2016 survey, the overall response rate was 55%.

Interested in joining FINRA’s arbitrator roster? Visit our Become an Arbitrator webpage or contact us by email or (212) 858-4384 if you have questions.