This post first appeared on the Securities Arbitration Alert blog.  The blog’s editor-in-chief is George H. Friedman, Chairman of the Board of Directors for Arbitartion Resolution Services, Inc.

FINRA Dispute Resolution Services (“DRS”) has posted case statistics through October, with trends continuing to show a comparatively strong year in arbitration filings – especially industry cases – and a continued drop-off in mediations.

We offer these headlines at the year’s ten-month mark: 1) overall arbitration filings through October  – 2,929 cases – are up 34% for the year (was plus 25% in September); 2) cumulative customer claims increased 12% (was plus 14% last month); 3) industry arbitration filings were up a whopping 72% (this stat was up 43% in September); and 4) the long-term decline in mediation cases continue. There were 486 new arbitrations filed in October, compared to 262 new cases in September.

The Industry Surge

What’s behind the industry surge in case filings? In brief: employment-related matters. The Top 15 Controversy Types in Intra-Industry Arbitrations stat shows that several categories through October already exceed 2022’s full-year case filings:


  • Breach of contract: At 248 cases, already exceeds full-year 2022’s 225 cases
  • Promissory notes At 132 cases, already exceeds full-year 2022’s 84 cases
  • Libel or slander on Form U-5. At 90 cases, already exceeds full-year 2022’s 84 cases
  • Libel, slander, or defamation: At 79 cases, already exceeds full-year 2022’s 69 cases
  • Wrongful termination: At 61 cases, already exceeds full-year 2022’s 50 cases

The DRS forum is quickly becoming dominated by industry cases; almost half (47%) of this year’s arbitration filings are industry disputes.

Continued Decline in Mediation

There were 544 mediation cases in agreement, a 27% decrease from 2022. Although this stat ticked up in September, it has resumed its long term decline and has mostly been declining steadily in recent months. This stat is way down from May 2022’s torrid plus 137% pace. The mediation settlement rate was steady at 85%.


Overall arbitration turnaround times were 15.1 months (a slight decrease), with hearing cases now taking 18.1 months (also a slight decrease). There are now 8,431 DRS arbitrators, 4,118 public and 4,313 non-public. This stat was up across the board last month. Pending cases stand at 3,494, up 162 from September.

(ed: *If the trend holds, the 2,929 arbitrations filed through October straight-lines to about 3,500 yearly arbitration filings, still a decent year by recent measures. Last year there were 2,671 arbitration case filings for the entire year. The all-time high-water mark was in 2003, when that post tech-wreck figure was 8,945 cases. **Past year stats can be found here.)