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Our Commitment to Achieving Arbitrator and Mediator Diversity at FINRA

WHY DIVERSITY IS IMPORTANT

FINRA Dispute Resolution Services 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 Services

FINRA Dispute Resolution Services 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 Services 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 neutrals on our roster in 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. In sharing the findings, FINRA strives to provide transparency about the current makeup of our arbitrator roster. In 2020, we saw increases in the Female and Asian 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

  2020 Survey 2019 Survey 2018 Survey 2017 Survey 2016 Survey
Demographic Joined October
2019 - 2020
Overall
Roster
Joined October
2018 - 2019
Overall
Roster
Joined October
2017 - 2018
Overall
Roster
Joined October
2016 - 2017
Overall
Roster
Joined October
2015 - 2016
Overall
Roster
Male 58% 69% 60% 69% 60% 70% 62% 72% 66% 74%
Female 40% 30% 39% 29% 37% 27% 35% 25% 33% 24%

Race

  2020 Survey 2019 Survey 2018 Survey 2017 Survey 2016 Survey
Demographic Joined October
2019 - 2020
Overall
Roster
Joined October
2018 - 2019
Overall
Roster
Joined October
2017 - 2018
Overall
Roster
Joined October
2016 - 2017
Overall
Roster
Joined October
2015 - 2016
Overall
Roster
Caucasian 70% 81% 71% 81% 76% 83% 69% 84% 76% 86%
Black or African-American 14% 9% 19% 9% 15% 7% 15% 6% 14% 5%
Hispanic or Latino 3% 4% 6% 5% 8% 4% 4% 4% 7% 4%
Asian 4% 2% 3% 2% 1% 2% 4% 2% 3% 1%
Multi-Racial 3% 3% 4% 3% 4% 2% 4% 2% 2% 2%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0% 0% 0% 0% 0% <1% 1% 0% 0% <1%

LGBTQ Status

  2020 Survey 2019 Survey 2018 Survey 2017 Survey 2016 Survey
Demographic Joined October
2019 - 2020
Overall
Roster
Joined October
2018 - 2019
Overall
Roster
Joined October
2017 - 2018
Overall
Roster
Joined October
2016 - 2017
Overall
Roster
Joined October
2015 - 2016
Overall
Roster
LGBTQ 2% 3% 4% 3% 5% 3% 2% 2% 3% 2%

Age

  2020 Survey 2019 Survey 2018 Survey 2017 Survey 2016 Survey
Demographic Joined October
2019 - 2020
Overall
Roster
Joined October
2018 - 2019
Overall
Roster
Joined October
2017 - 2018
Overall
Roster
Joined October
2016 - 2017
Overall
Roster
Joined October
2015 - 2016
Overall
Roster
70 or older 14% 44% 17% 43% 12% 38% 18% 39% 15% 39%
69 to 61 36% 30% 33% 29% 28% 26% 30% 27% 30% 31%
60 or younger 50% 25% 50% 28% 45% 20% 51% 29% 54% 30%

Note: Consulting firm AON Hewitt conducted the 2016 survey. The 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 surveys were conducted by Alight Solutions, formerly a part of AON Hewitt. Neutral responses were completely voluntary, confidential and anonymous. 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%. In the 2019 survey, the overall response rate was 39%. In the 2020 survey, the overall response rate was 37%.

MEDIATORS


The 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 surveys separately polled FINRA mediators. The statistics below for the entire mediator roster also includes mediators who are arbitrators.

Demographic 2020 Survey 2019 Survey 2018 Survey 2017 Survey
Gender
Male 71% 72% 70% 74%
Female 26% 23% 27% 23%
Age
70 or older 51% 53% 37% 46%
69-61 33% 28% 26% 31%
60 or younger 16% 19% 20% 21%
Race
Caucasian 79% 80% 82% 81%
Black or African-American 8% 6% 7% 4%
Hispanic or Latino 3% 4% 4% 3%
Asian 1% 1% 2% <1%
Multi-Racial 4% 4% 2% 3%
American Indian or Alaska Native 0% 0% <1% 1%
LGBTQ Status 1% 4% 3% 2%

Interested in joining FINRA's arbitrator roster? Visit our Become an Arbitrator webpage or contact us by email or (212) 858-4386 if you have questions. Interested in joining FINRA's mediator roster? Visit our Become a Mediator webpage or contact us by email or (561) 416-0277 if you have questions.