FINRA (the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) administers both mediation and arbitration programs for securities brokers, agents, and customers. Their recently reported statistics for the first part or 2010 show an increase of 106% in new filings for mediation and a decrease of 25% for arbitration. New arbitration case filings still outnumber mediation requests by about 7 to 1. FINRA also reports that 85% of mediation cases closed with a successful settlement, an increase of about 5% from historical FINRA mediation settlement rates due in part to a multi-case mediation coordinated by FINRA, which settled a large group of cases. The average case turnaround time was 88 days.
Statistics like this are difficult to come by. If anyone knows a good source for similar statistics in other arbitration and mediation programs, let me know. Without such information, generalizations about filing trends and settlement rates are impossible to make.