Learn About Arbitration
Arbitration is an alternative to litigation or mediation in order to resolve a dispute. Arbitration panels are composed of one or three arbitrators who are selected by the parties. They read the pleadings filed by the parties, listen to the arguments, study the documentary and/or testimonial evidence, and render a decision.
The panel's decision, called an "award," is final and binding on all the parties. Awards are rendered by independent arbitrators who are chosen by the parties to issue final, binding decisions. FINRA makes available an arbitration forum—pursuant to rules approved by the SEC—but has no part in deciding the award. All parties must abide by the award, unless it is successfully challenged in court within the statutory time period.
Arbitration is generally confidential, and documents submitted in arbitration are not publicly-available, unlike court-related filings. However, if an award is issued at the conclusion of the case, FINRA posts it in its Arbitration Awards Online Database, which is publicly available.