Finra votes to bump arbitrators' pay by 50%

Fee would be paid for with hikes in filing and processing costs

By Trevor Hunnicutt

Dec 6, 2013 @ 12:48 pm (Updated 1:44 pm) EST

Finra arbitrators will earn $600 per day, up from $400, if the Securities and Exchange Commission approves a recommendation by the self-regulator to raise their pay.

The board of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc. voted Thursday on the 50% pay boost, the first increase since 1999.

That change would increase the cost of arbitration for firms and retail investors, some industry watchers warned. But Finra describes the increases as necessary.

“Finra believes that the proposed honoraria increases are needed to recruit and retain a roster of high-quality arbitrators,” Finra chairman and chief executive Richard G. Ketchum said in a statement posted to the regulator's website Friday.

Right now, arbitrators receive $200 for a half-day session and $400 for a full day hearing. The chairman of the panel receives an extra $75 a day. With the proposed pay boost, he’ll now receive $125.

In order to pay for the increase, Finra proposes to increase case filing, processing and hearing session fees, as well as by increasing the fees it charges member firms. Arbitrators can also allocate fees as part of the awards they dole out, Finra said.