FINRA Committed to Enhancing Diversity of Arbitrator and Mediator Pool; Providing Greater Transparency into Arbitrator Demographic Makeup

WASHINGTON — The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) announced today that FINRA’s Office of Dispute Resolution is holding an arbitrator and mediator recruitment event at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Annual Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., September 21 – September 24. FINRA’s participation is part of an overall recruitment campaign launched in December 2015 to expand the depth and diversity of the arbitrator and mediator roster. As part of this campaign, FINRA attends 15 diversity-based professional conferences each year with a focus on adding arbitrators from diverse backgrounds, professions and geographical locations. FINRA attended the Congressional Black Caucus conference last year.

The event will take place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, and FINRA will have a booth in the Exhibit Hall open on September 21 from 12 p.m. – 7 p.m., September 22 from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m., and September 23 from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Interested candidates with at least five years of professional work experience and two years of college credits are encouraged to attend the program to learn how to become an arbitrator.

U.S. Congressman Gregory W. Meeks said, “I am pleased that FINRA is working closely with the Congressional Black Caucus to add more African-Americans and other minorities to its roster of arbitrators and mediators. This demonstrates FINRA’s commitment to enhancing diversity and I hope they continue to move the ball forward.”

Richard Berry, Executive Vice President, FINRA’s Office of Dispute Resolution, said, “We are happy to once again partner with the Congressional Black Caucus and are very grateful for Representative Meeks’ support of our increased efforts to recruit individuals from more diverse backgrounds. We are encouraged by the data we have seen so far that demonstrates the different tactics we are taking are working. While we are encouraged by the incremental progress made, we recognize this is a long-term effort and are fully committed to achieving our diversity goals.”

Also, as part of this campaign, FINRA today launched “Our Commitment to Achieving Arbitrator and Mediator Diversity at FINRA,” a section of its website containing data on the current demographic makeup of the roster. To initially assess and then track progress on an annual basis, FINRA hired a third-party consultant to survey arbitrators and mediators. The survey results showed particular success in recruiting more African-Americans and women. Of those who joined the roster in 2016, 14 percent were African-American and 33 percent were women, compared to 4 percent and 26 percent, respectively, in 2015. In sharing the findings, FINRA strives to provide transparency about the current makeup of the roster.

FINRA is dedicated to investor protection and market integrity. It regulates one critical part of the securities industry – brokerage firms doing business with the public in the United States. FINRA, overseen by the SEC, writes rules, examines for and enforces compliance with FINRA rules and federal securities laws, registers broker-dealer personnel and offers them education and training, and informs the investing public. In addition, FINRA provides surveillance and other regulatory services for equities and options markets, as well as trade reporting and other industry utilities. FINRA also administers a dispute resolution forum for investors and brokerage firms and their registered employees. For more information, visit www.finra.org.

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