Arbitrators Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


1. Should arbitrators disclose that they are sitting on multiple open cases involving the same party?
Yes. In these situations, the arbitrator has a continuous duty under both the Code of Arbitration Procedure and the Code of Ethics for Arbitrators in Commercial Disputes to disclose this information to all parties.
2. How are the Arbitrator Experience Survey and Arbitration Evaluation Form, which are completed by other arbitrators and parties upon conclusion of an arbitration, used to improve the process?
FINRA Dispute Resolution (FINRA) constantly reviews the quality of the arbitration roster through the use of the Arbitration Evaluation Form, Arbitrator Experience Survey, and staff evaluations, and quarterly roster reviews conducted by the regional offices.

From the perspective of case administration, information obtained from the evaluations and surveys are used to assess the effectiveness of the forum's services, to determine whether staff persons – individually or as a whole – require additional training, and to determine whether the forum's communications are clearly written and easily understood.

From the perspective of neutral management, information obtained from the evaluations and surveys are used to assess the effectiveness of each arbitrator's performance, and to follow-up on any complaints received. Data is maintained on each individual arbitrator to determine whether the majority of parties before whom the arbitrator served believed that the arbitrator:
  • displayed a professional demeanor,
  • listened attentively,
  • used clear, understandable language,
  • appeared unbiased,
  • treated both parties fairly and impartially,
  • showed sensitivity to gender, ethnicity, and cultural differences,
  • displayed an ability to understand the material presented,
  • displayed an ability to analyze problems/identify key issues,
  • displayed knowledge of the rules and procedures,
  • decided discovery issues and motions timely, and,
  • had control of the hearings (for example, starting on time, maintaining).

Egregious failures in one or more of the above evaluation focus points may result in counseling for the arbitrator, or in the arbitrator's removal from the FINRA roster.
3. What qualifications are needed to be listed on the Arbitrator Chair list?
Arbitrators are eligible for the chairperson roster if they have completed chairperson training provided by FINRA and: have a law degree and are a member of a bar of at least one jurisdiction and have served as an arbitrator through award on at least two arbitrations administered by a self-regulatory organization in which hearings were held; or have served as an arbitrator through award on at least three arbitrations administered by a self-regulatory organization in which hearings were held.

A chair qualified public arbitrator will appear on both the chair list and the non-chair public arbitrator list (but of course not at the same time).