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2020 Dispute Resolution Statistics

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Virtual Arbitration Hearing Statistics Through December

Contested Motions for Virtual Hearings Granted Denied Open Total
Customer 128 (69%) 58 (31%) 36 222
Intra-Industry 38 (73%) 14 (27%) 10 62
Total Customer and Intra-Industry 166 (70%) 72 (30%) 46 284

Since the postponement of in-person hearings, and as of December 31, 138 arbitration cases have conducted one or more hearings via Zoom (55 customer cases and 83 industry cases).
There are 155 total joint motions for virtual hearings. (50 in customer cases and 105 in industry cases).

Arbitration Statistics Through December

Year New Case Filings Cases Closed Open Cases Turnaround Time (in months)
2020 Total: 3,902
Customer: 2,081 (53%)
Intra-Industry: 1,821 (47%)
3,564 5,138 Overall*: 14.5
Regular Hearing Decisions: 14.7
Special Proceeding Decisions: 7.1
Paper Decisions: 5.4
2019 Total: 3,757
Customer: 2,363 (63%)
Intra-Industry: 1,394 (37%)
4,011 4,808 Overall*: 14.2
Regular Hearing Decisions: 16.9
Special Proceeding Decisions: 7.0
Paper Decisions: 5.8
2018 Total: 4,325
Customer: 2,713 (63%)
Intra-Industry: 1,612 (37%)
3,756 5,012 Overall*: 14.2
Regular Hearing Decisions: 16.5
Special Proceeding Decisions: N/A
Paper Decisions: 6.5
2020 vs 2019 Total: +4%
Customer: -12%
Intra-Industry: +31%
-11% +7%  Overall*: +2%
Regular Hearing Decisions: -13%
Special Proceeding Decisions: +1%
Paper Decisions: -7%

* Includes cases closed for any reason.

Historical Statistics for Cases Filed and Closed 

Year Cases Filed Cases Closed
2020 3,902 3,564
2019 3,757 4,011
2018 4,325 3,756
2017 3,456 3,735
2016 3,681 3,635
2015 3,435 3,489
Year Cases Filed Cases Closed
2014 3,822 3,838
2013 3,714 4,498
2012 4,299 4,877
2011 4,729 6,099
2010 5,680 6,241
2009 7,137 4,571
Year Cases Filed Cases Closed
2008 4,982 3,757
2007 3,238 5,345
2006 4,614 7,212
2005 6,074 9,043
2004 8,201 9,209
2003 8,945 7,278

Top 15 Controversy Types in Customer Arbitrations

A single arbitration case may include multiple controversy types.

Controversy   2020 Cases served 2019 2018 2017 2016
Breach of Fiduciary Duty Through December 1,714 2,053 2,290 1,899 2,002
Year-End -- 2,053 2,290 1,899 2,002
Negligence Through December 1,592 1,826 1,974 1,662 1,862
Year-End -- 1,826 1,974 1,662 1,862
Failure to Supervise Through December 1,433 1,731 1,935 1,621 1,802
Year-End -- 1,731 1,935 1,621 1,802
Misrepresentation Through December 1,384 1,688 1,775 1,663 1,670
Year-End -- 1,688 1,775 1,663 1,670
Breach of Contract Through December 1,292 1,563 1,711 1,318 1,495
Year-End -- 1,563 1,711 1,318 1,495
Suitability Through December 1,220 1,580 1,779 1,606 1,606
Year-End -- 1,580 1,779 1,606 1,606
Omission of Facts Through December 1,215 1,468 1,547 1,493 1,606
Year-End -- 1,468 1,547 1,493 1,606
Fraud Through December 918 1,499 1,707 1,389 1,301
Year-End -- 1,499 1,707 1,389 1,301
Violation of Blue Sky Laws Through December 338 657 810 547 344
Year-End -- 657 810 547 344
Manipulation Through December 316 384 302 299 236
Year-End -- 384 302 299 236
Unauthorized Trading Through December 190 197 245 263 362
Year-End -- 197 245 263 362
Elder Abuse* Through December 172 207 216 61 --
Year-End -- 207 216 61 --
Churning Through December 115 167 205 219 254
Year-End -- 167 205 219 254
Errors-charges Through December 102 98 81 66 56
Year-End -- 98 81 66 56
Execution Error Through December 91 51 75 53 85
Year-End -- 51 75 53 85

* These categories were not tracked for the years in which no data appears.

Top 15 Security Types in Customer Arbitrations

A single arbitration case may include multiple security types.

Security   2020 Cases served 2019 2018 2017 2016
Real Estate Investment Trust Through December 421 236 205 177 184
Year-End -- 236 205 177 184
Common Stock Through December 385 436 579 604 646
Year-End -- 436 579 604 646
Business Development Company Through December 218 26 20 14 --
Year-End -- 26 20 14 --
Private Equities Through December 213 149 111 111 114
Year-End -- 149 111 111 114
Options Through December 180 204 150 127 124
Year-End -- 204 150 127 124
Mutual Funds Through December 177 526 731 447 352
Year-End -- 526 731 447 352
Municipal Bonds Through December 148 702 971 565 433
Year-End -- 702 971 565 433
Limited Partnerships Through December 146 128 144 183 199
Year-End -- 128 144 183 199
Municipal Bond Funds Through December 136 717 959 558 480
Year-End -- 717 959 558 480
Exchange-Traded Funds Through December 95 138 167 131 133
Year-End -- 138 167 131 133
Variable Annuities Through December 95 109 105 129 115
Year-End -- 109 105 129 115
Annuities Through December 93 87 101 115 127
Year-End -- 97 101 115 127
Corporate Bonds Through December 79 74 135 119 154
Year-End -- 74 135 119 154
401(k) Through December 73 58 94 69 27
Year-End -- 58 94 69 27
Government Securities Through December 56 431 519 229 96
Year-End -- 431 519 229 96

* These categories were not tracked for the years in which no data appears.

Top 15 Controversy Types in Intra-Industry Arbitrations

A single arbitration case may include multiple controversy types.

Breach of Contract Promissory Notes Libel, Slander, or Defamation Libel or Slander on Form U-5 Compensation Wrongful Termination Suitability Commissions Misrepresentation Discrimination or Harassment* Breach of Fiduciary Duty Raiding Disputes Negligence Fraud Partnerships

CONTROVERSY   2020 Cases Served 2019 2018 2017 2016
Breach of Contract Through December 309 345 413 403 389
Year-End -- 345 413 403 389
Promissory Notes Through December 229 240 261 296 401
Year-End -- 240 261 296 401
Libel, Slander, or Defamation Through December 152 135 166 117 124
Year-End -- 135 166 117 124
Libel or Slander on Form U-5 Through December 148 119 135 136 124
Year-End -- 119 135 136 124
Compensation Through December 135 135 168 161 163
Year-End -- 135 168 161 163
Wrongful Termination Through December 101 102 122 116 127
Year-End -- 102 122 116 127
Suitability Through December 82 17 63 59 17
Year-End -- 17 63 59 17
Commissions Through December 72 82 95 103 60
Year-End -- 82 95 103 60
Misrepresentation Through December 57 29 68 54 21
Year-End -- 29 68 54 21
Discrimination or Harassment* Through December 38 46 38 37 58
Year-End -- 46 38 37 58
Breach of Fiduciary Duty Through December 31 30 39 52 18
Year-End -- 30 39 52 18
Raiding Disputes Through December 28 21 37 33 42
Year-End -- 21 37 33 42
Negligence Through December 17 17 32 25 17
Year-End -- 17 32 25 17
Fraud Through December 16 11 24 26 11
Year-End -- 11 24 26 11
Partnerships Through December 15 15 13 7 11
Year-End -- 15 13 7 11

* This category combines the following discrimination controversy types: disability, age, gender, race, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, employment discrimination, and sexual harassment. This number does not represent the number of cases served, as one case may have multiple discrimination claims.

How Arbitration Cases Close

Cases Decided by Arbitrators 2020 (% of Cases) 2019 2018 2017 2016
After Regular Hearing 335 (9%) 527 (13%) 517 (14%) 512 (14%) 593 (16%)
After Special Proceeding Hearing 13 (0%) 12 (0%) N/A N/A N/A
After Review of Documents (Paper Cases) 101 (3%) 96 (2%) 130 (4%) 135 (4%) 157 (4%)
Total 449 (13%) 635 (16%) 647 (17%) 647 (18%) 750 (21%)
Cases Resolved by Other Means 2020 (% of Cases) 2019 2018 2017 2016
Direct Settlement by Parties 2,060 (58%) 2,269 (57%) 2,005 (54%) 1,964 (53%) 1,812 (50%)
Settled via Mediation 477 (13%) 513 (13%) 493 (13%) 493 (13%) 433 (12%)
Withdrawn 329 (9%) 343 (9%) 333 (9%) 348 (9%) 341 (9%)
All Others 243 (7%) 203 (5%) 233 (6%) 240 (7%) 275 (8%)
Total 3,109 (88%) 3,328 (84%) 3,064 (83%) 3,045 (82%) 2,861 (79%)

Results of Customer Claimant Arbitration Award Cases

Year Decided All Customer Claimant Cases Decided (Hearings, Special Procedures & Paper) Percentage Decided of All Customer Claimant Cases Closed Percentage (and Number) of Cases where Customer Awarded Damages
2020 193 9% 32% (62 cases)
2019 313 13% 45% (141 cases)
2018 359 15% 40% (145 cases)
2017 352 14% 43% (151 cases)
2016 389 16% 41% (158 cases)
2015 455 20% 42% (190 cases)

Result of Customer Claimant Arbitration Award Cases (Regular Hearing Only)

Year Decided Customer Claimant Cases Decided (Hearing Only) Hearing Customer Claimant Cases Where Customer Awarded Damages Hearing Customer Claimant Not Awarded Damages Percentage of Customer Award Hearing Cases
2020 120 41 79 34%
2019 241 109 132 45%
2018 274 115 159 42%
2017 272 122 150 45%
2016 272 114 158 42%
2015 319 145 174 45%

Result of Customer Claimant Arbitration Award Cases (Special Proceeding Hearing Only)

Year Decided Customer Claimant Cases Decided (Special Proceeding Only) Special Proceeding Customer Claimant Cases Where Customer Awarded Damages Special Proceeding Customer Claimant Not Awarded Damages Percentage of Customer Award Special Proceeding Cases
2020 5 1 4 20%
2019 8 1 7 13%

Result of Customer Claimant Arbitration Award Cases (Paper Only)

Year Decided Customer Claimant Cases Decided (Paper Only) Paper Customer Claimant Cases Where Customer Awarded Damages Customer Claimant Not Awarded Damages Percentage of Customer Award Paper Cases
2020 68 20 48 29%
2019 64 31 33 48%
2018 85 30 55 35%
2017 80 29 51 36%
2016 117 44 73 38%
2015 136 45 91 33%

Results of All-Public Panels and Majority Public Panels in Customer Cases

Year Decided Cases Decided by All-Public Panels Percentage (and Number) of Cases Decided by 3 Public Arbitrators where Customer Awarded Damages Cases Decided by Majority-Public Panels Percentage (and Number) of Cases Decided by 2 Public Arbitrators and 1 Non-Public Arbitrator where Customer Awarded Damages
2020 76 33% (25 cases) 26 23% (6 cases)
2019 149 53% (79 cases) 47 28% (13 cases)
2018 158 42% (67 cases) 58 47% (27 cases)
2017 137 48% (66 cases) 71 37% (26 cases)
2016 145 43% (63 cases) 72 36% (26 cases)
2015 163 47% (77 cases) 84 45% (38 cases)

Arbitrators by Type and Location

Arbitrator Type Total
Public 3,820
Non-Public 4,291
Total 8,111

Special Arbitrator Roster

Arbitrator Pool Name Public Chairpersons Public Arbitrators Non-Public Arbitrators
Puerto Rico Bond Fund 232 794 733

Mediation Statistics Through December

Year Cases in Agreement Cases Closed (Percent Settled) Turnaround Time (in days)
2020 413 564 (85%) 124
2019 588 599 (86%) 93
2018 509 669 (78%) 115
2020 vs 2019 -30% -6%  +33% 

Pre-Arbitration Requests for Mediation Through December

Year to Date Number of Requests* Parties Agreed (%)
2020 190 41 (22%)
2019 138 43 (31%)
2018 128 25 (20%)

* As of January 1, 2020, Number of Requests only includes cases subject to FINRA’s jurisdiction. Previously, these statistics included all requests to mediate, including those not subject to FINRA’s jurisdiction.