Add a New Dimension for Your Career
FINRA arbitrators are highly engaged, dynamic individuals who aid their communities and enhance their professional lives by resolving securities-related disputes.
Develop skills, serve the community and supplement your income. No previous arbitration, securities or legal experience is required to apply—just five years of paid work experience and two years of college-level credits.
IMPORTANT: Before applying, please carefully review the Disqualification Criteria to determine if you are temporarily or permanently disqualified from serving as a FINRA arbitrator. If you have any questions about the Disqualification Criteria, and whether it applies to you, please contact the Neutral Management Department at (855) 209-1620.
Ready to apply? Let's get started...
Need additional help?
Contact Philicia Fletcher, or call (212) 858-4283.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is FINRA?
FINRA is dedicated to investor protection and market integrity. We regulate one critical part of the securities industry—brokerage firms doing business with the public in the United States.
FINRA also administers a dispute resolution forum for investors and brokerage firms and their registered employees. We have extensive experience in providing a fair, efficient and effective venue to handle securities-related disputes. The resolution of problems and disputes is accomplished through two non-judicial proceedings: arbitration and mediation.
Who are FINRA arbitrators?
FINRA arbitrators are a diverse cross-section of dedicated individuals serving the investing public and the securities industry by resolving securities-related disputes. They are neutral, well-qualified and essential to maintaining a fair, impartial and efficient system of dispute resolution.
FINRA maintains a roster of more than 8,100 arbitrators. FINRA is seeking to expand the depth and diversity of our arbitrator roster by recruiting candidates from a variety of cultural backgrounds and areas of professional expertise, such as business, accounting, finance, library sciences, liberal arts, legal and more.
What are the benefits of becoming a FINRA arbitrator?
- Develop skills and experience – Arbitrators receive free training. In addition to practical training about FINRA rules and procedures, the training sessions are designed to enhance leadership, management and communication skills.
- Build your network – Arbitrators often serve on a panel which provides the opportunity to meet and network with other professionals.
- Supplement your income – FINRA arbitrators receive an honorarium: typically $600 per day or $850 per day for arbitrators serving as chairpersons (and $125 for each prehearing conference).
What does a FINRA arbitrator do?
Arbitrators serve as dispute decision makers. They hear all sides of the case, study the evidence and render a final and binding decision. Arbitrators may serve as the sole arbitrator or as a member of a three-person arbitration panel. Want to see a typical day at a hearing? View the following video...
Where will I serve?
Arbitrators are assigned to one primary hearing location based on primary residence. There are 69 hearing locations, including at least one in each state of the United States and one in San Juan, Puerto Rico and Washington, DC.
What experience is needed?
Applicants should have at least five years of paid business and/or professional experience—inside or outside of the securities industry—and at least sixty college-level credits. Generally, internships or short-term work while enrolled as a full-time student will not count towards the employment criteria.
In some instances, an individual may be temporarily or permanently disqualified from serving as a FINRA arbitrator. Please carefully review the Disqualification Criteria before applying.
How are arbitrators assigned to cases?
Once an arbitrator completes FINRA's Basic Arbitrator Training Program, he or she will be eligible to hear cases. The arbitrator's name will begin to appear on lists—generated at random by our list selection system—which are sent to the people involved in the case, or the parties, during the list selection process.
An arbitrator who is selected to hear a case may serve as the sole arbitrator or as part of a three-person arbitration panel. An arbitrator who accepts a case assignment must review all case materials prior to the first hearing session. Additionally, the arbitrator may be required to:
- participate in an initial prehearing conference call to schedule hearing dates, set discovery and motion deadlines and address any other preliminary issues involved with the case;
- participate in subsequent prehearing calls, if necessary, to resolve discovery disputes, hear arguments on motions, resolve scheduling issues and address any other matter that will simplify or expedite the hearing;
- attend an in-person hearing, when held* (not all cases require an in-person hearing, and in such circumstances, the selected arbitrator will render a decision based on the information provided by the parties);
- discuss and deliberate the outcome after the hearing; and
- render a decision in the case.
* FINRA assigns each approved arbitrator to one primary hearing location, which is the closest hearing location to an arbitrator's primary residence. The closest hearing location may be outside of the state of residence.
Will I receive training?
All accepted applicants must complete FINRA's Basic Arbitrator Training Program and subsequent assessments. The training is free and covers each stage of FINRA's arbitration process. Applicants have two chances to score 80% or better on the assessments. New arbitrators may attend an optional Zoom orientation, which gives new arbitrators a chance to meet FINRA staff and ask questions about serving on the roster.
FINRA also offers voluntary advanced arbitrator training on specific areas of FINRA's arbitration rules and processes.
How many cases will I be assigned to each year?
Arbitrators are selected to hear cases by the parties as described above. Accordingly, FINRA cannot guarantee the number of cases to which each arbitrator will be assigned. Arbitrators may receive one to two cases each year, but service may be less frequent.
Are there any costs?
There are no application costs and no training costs. FINRA reimburses arbitrators for reasonable travel expenses.
Are FINRA arbitrators employed by FINRA?
FINRA arbitrators are independent contractors. They are not eligible to receive FINRA employee or unemployment benefits.
Can I work while serving as an arbitrator?
Serving as a FINRA arbitrator complements your career. Our arbitrators range from full-time professionals to freelancers to retirees to stay-at-home parents.
FINRA arbitrators have flexibility to choose when their assigned cases take place. Preliminary case conferences are conducted remotely, and in accordance with an arbitrators' schedule. However, cases are generally scheduled during business hours.
What are examples of the types of cases I will hear?
- Investor Complaints – An investor files a claim alleging her broker and his firm made recommendations to purchase stocks that were unsuitable because they were inconsistent with her investment objectives. The investor would like to get the money back that she invested. The broker and his firm respond that the investments were suitable with the investor's investment objectives.
- Compensation Complaints – A brokerage firm hires a broker and advances her $1,000,000 as part of a promissory note. During the course of her employment, the broker repays $600,000 and then leaves the firm. The firm sues for the remaining $400,000. The broker responds that she was forced to leave, and therefore she does not owe the firm the money and files a counterclaim for unspecified damages.
- Employment Complaints – An employee is fired from his position at a FINRA member firm. He alleges he was fired after the firm discovered his sexual orientation, when he applied for his husband to be added to the firm-sponsored medical plan. The firm responds that he was "let go" as part of a corporate restructuring plan.
What are the next steps?
Complete the arbitrator application and submit it electronically. Please ensure you are using one of our approved browsers. After you are approved you will be asked to verify your Social Security number and consent to a background check.
Applicants are typically notified within 120 days. FINRA conducts a preliminary review of your completed application before forwarding it to a subcommittee of the National Arbitration and Mediation Committee (NAMC) for final approval. Once approved, you are required to successfully complete FINRA's Basic Arbitrator Training Program before being added to our arbitrator roster.
Need additional help?
Write to Philicia Fletcher or call (212) 858-4283.
Know a Qualified Candidate?
Our pool of highly-qualified arbitrators is the cornerstone of our program. We want to continue to have a sufficient pool of arbitrators in all 69 hearing locations.
To refer an arbitrator candidate please send a brief endorsement along with the candidates email address to Philicia Fletcher, and we will reach out with an invitation to apply.
Become a Recruitment Ambassador
Ambassadors can contribute to the success of FINRA's program by:
- Leveraging their networks to refer exceptional candidates.
- Notifying us about groups or organizations that may be good sources of potential arbitrators.
- Identifying potential speaking and recruiting opportunities for FINRA staff.
Arbitrators who are willing to serve as Recruitment Ambassadors should email Arbitrator Recruitment, who will send you a recruitment package with literature and FINRA branded items. Arbitrator Recruitment Ambassadors who encourage five new applicants to apply will receive a FINRA sweatshirt as a token of our appreciation.
Please write to Philicia Fletcher or call (212) 858-4283 with any questions.