Skip to main content

For updates and guidance related to COVID-19 / Coronavirus, click here.

Arbitrator Appointment FAQ

1. Where can I read arbitrator profiles?
The profiles are only available to parties in an arbitration matter. During the arbitrator selection process, FINRA will supply each party with an Arbitrator Disclosure Report of each potential arbitrator for the case. The Disclosure Report contains background information about the potential arbitrator, such as the arbitrator's name, classification, skills, employment, education, training, conflict information, and any publicly available awards the arbitrator issued. You may contact the staff member assigned to your case to request copies of a potential arbitrator's Disclosure Report.
2. How can I find out the professional background of potential arbitrators?
During the arbitrator selection process, FINRA will supply each party with an Arbitrator Disclosure Report of each potential arbitrator for your case. The Disclosure Report contains background information about the potential arbitrator, such as the arbitrator's name, classification, skills, employment, education, training, conflict information, and any publicly available awards the arbitrator issued. You may contact the staff member assigned to your case to request copies of a potential arbitrator's Disclosure Report.
3. Are Arbitrators FINRA employees?
FINRA arbitrators are independent and 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.
4. How many strikes do I get per arbitrator list?
Each separately represented party may only strike up to four of the arbitrators from each list. A challenge for cause could be filed in the event the arbitrator is actually appointed to the panel (which would not occur if the party exercised a strike against that arbitrator).

Please refer to Code of Arbitration Procedure Rule 12400 series for Customer Disputes or Rule 13400 series for Industry Disputes for our rules regarding arbitrator appointment, disqualification, and authority of arbitrators.
5. How many arbitrators will decide my arbitration claim?
If your claim is $50,000 or less, it will be classified as a "simplified arbitration." One arbitrator decides a simplified arbitration. The case will be decided exclusively on the filed documents (without a hearing) unless the claimant requests or agrees to a hearing. If the total amount in controversy is more than $50,000 to $100,000, exclusive of interest and expenses, one arbitrator will be selected to decide the case unless both parties agree in writing to a panel of three arbitrators. If the total amount in controversy is more than $100,000 or an unspecified or non-monetary amount, a panel of three arbitrators will be selected to decide the case.
6. Can parties in an investor case have a panel of all public arbitrators decide the case?
FINRA will appoint a single public arbitrator in customer cases decided by one arbitrator. In customer cases decided by three arbitrators, FINRA Rule 12403 allows any party to select an all public panel of arbitrators. FINRA will send the parties three lists of arbitrators—one with 10 chair-qualified public arbitrators, one with 10 public arbitrators, and one with 10 non-public arbitrators. By striking all of the arbitrators on the non-public list, any party can ensure that the panel will have three public arbitrators. FINRA will not appoint a non-public arbitrator to the panel who has not been selected by the parties.
7. What is a Public Arbitrator?
Public arbitrators are defined in FINRA Rule 12100(aa) of the Code of Arbitration Procedure for Customer Disputes and FINRA Rule 13100(x) of the Code of Arbitration Procedure for Industry Disputes. These rules list criteria that disqualify persons from serving as public arbitrators. Among other disqualifications, public arbitrators must never have been affiliated with a broker or dealer or with other financial industry entities described in the rules such as mutual funds; must not devote 20 percent or more of their professional time to these financial industry entities or to persons or entities associated with them; and must not devote 20 percent or more of their professional time to representing parties in disputes concerning investment accounts or transactions or employment relationships within the financial industry.

A person's former employment with a self-regulatory organization, such as an exchange or FINRA, would not disqualify them from serving as a public arbitrator.