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, former 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, 2016, 2017 and 2018. In sharing the findings, FINRA strives to provide transparency about the current makeup of our arbitrator roster. In 2018, we saw increases in the women, Hispanic or Latino, and LGBT categories. 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

  2018 Survey 2017 Survey 2016 Survey 2015 Survey
Demographic Joined October
2017 - 2018
Overall
Roster
Joined October
2016 - 2017
Overall
Roster
Joined October
2015 - 2016
Overall
Roster
Joined October
2014 - 2015
Overall
Roster
Male 60% 70% 62% 72% 66% 74% 72% 75%
Female 37% 27% 35% 25% 33% 24% 26% 23%

Race

  2018 Survey 2017 Survey 2016 Survey 2015 Survey
Demographic Joined October
2017 - 2018
Overall
Roster
Joined October
2016 - 2017
Overall
Roster
Joined October
2015 - 2016
Overall
Roster
Joined October
2014 - 2015
Overall
Roster
Caucasian 76% 83% 69% 84% 76% 86% 79% 86%
African-American 15% 7% 15% 6% 14% 5% 4% 4%
Hispanic or Latino 8% 4% 4% 4% 7% 4% 17% 4%
Asian 1% 2% 4% 2% 3% 1% 2% 1%
Multi-Racial 4% 2% 4% 2% 2% 2% 7% 2%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0% <1% 1% 0% 0% <1% 0% <1%

LGBT Status

  2018 Survey 2017 Survey 2016 Survey 2015 Survey
Demographic Joined October
2017 - 2018
Overall
Roster
Joined October
2016 - 2017
Overall
Roster
Joined October
2015 - 2016
Overall
Roster
Joined October
2014 - 2015
Overall
Roster
LGBT 5% 3% 2% 2% 3% 2% 3% 2%

Age

  2018 Survey 2017 Survey 2016 Survey 2015 Survey
Demographic Joined October
2017 - 2018
Overall
Roster
Joined October
2016 - 2017
Overall
Roster
Joined October
2015 - 2016
Overall
Roster
Joined October
2014 - 2015
Overall
Roster
70 or older 12% 38% 18% 39% 15% 39% 12% 37%
69 to 61 28% 26% 30% 27% 30% 31% 29% 33%
60 or younger 45% 20% 51% 29% 54% 30% 58% 29%

Note: Consulting firm AON Hewitt conducted the 2016 and 2015 surveys. The 2017 and 2018 surveys were conducted by Alight Solutions, formerly a part of AON Hewitt. 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%. In the 2017 survey, the overall response rate was 37%. In the 2018 survey, the overall response rate was 39%.

MEDIATORS


The 2017 and 2018 surveys separately polled FINRA mediators. The statistics below for the entire mediator roster also includes mediators who are arbitrators.

Demographic 2018 Survey 2017 Survey
Gender
Male 70% 74%
Female 27% 23%
Age
70 or older 37% 46%
69-61 26% 31%
60 or younger 20% 21%
Race
Caucasian 82% 81%
African-American 7% 4%
Hispanic or Latino 4% 3%
Asian 2% <1%
Multi-Racial 2% 3%
American Indian or Alaska Native <1% 1%
LGBT Status 3% 2%

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. Interested in joining FINRA’s mediator roster? Visit our Become a Mediator webpage or contact us by email or (212) 858-5280 if you have questions.