In what we first thought was a belated April Fool’s Day prank, it was announced on April 2nd that long-time Vice President and Director of Neutral Management Barbara Brady was leaving FINRA the next day, because her position had been eliminated.
The news, which was shared with us by SAC Editorial Board members and others, comes as a shock to us.
Ms. Brady held her post since early 2000. As such she was responsible for the overall recruitment and training of FINRA’s arbitrator roster, as well as the accurate classification of arbitrators and the up-to-date maintenance of the arbitrator records. Prior to joining FINRA, Ms. Brady was Associate Vice President of Case Administration with the American Arbitration Association. Having joined AAA in 1978, she has spent a career of over three decades devoted to the alternative dispute resolution field. She was responsible for several innovations at FINRA, such as arbitration awards online, electronic arbitrator applications and updates, and Web-based arbitrator training.
We contacted for comment former Director of Arbitration George Friedman, who was Ms. Brady’s colleague at both AAA and FINRA. “This is certainly a surprise, that’s for sure,” he said. "Our careers have been intertwined for many years, so I can attest that Barbara was a tireless source of new ideas and plain hard work, both at AAA and FINRA.”
(ed: *Talk about bad timing! With the new arbitrator classification definitions about to be implemented, there’s plenty of work to be done. The Approval Order was published in the Federal Register on March 4th. FINRA has 60 days thereafter to issue a Regulatory Notice which will set the effective date as 30 days thereafter (see SAA 2015-08). **We are especially interested in whether this was part of a reduction in staff across the board, the result of a formal review of FINRA Dispute Resolution Staff or something else? Ms. Brady declined to comment. ***We worked often with Ms. Brady over the course of her long and distinguished career. She was always a true professional and a pleasure to work with. We wish her the best of luck.)