FINRA Reviews

Updated August 31, 2015
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FINRA Chairman & CEO Richard G. Ketchum
Richard G. Ketchum
45 Ratings

Pros
  • work life balance is great as well (in 32 reviews)

  • Good opportunity for growth, great benefits, decent pay, great opportunity to interact with other regulators (in 18 reviews)

Cons
  • The organization moves at a snails pace and so does your opportunity for advancement (in 9 reviews)

  • Lower pay than others in the industry but great benefits and work/life balance (in 6 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

88 Employee Reviews

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  1. Positive Experience

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Graduate Intern in Rockville, MD
    Former Employee - Graduate Intern in Rockville, MD
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    My team was friendly and cared about providing good experience for the position. The work was interesting and people genuinely cared about their jobs but still maintained a healthy work/life balance. HR put on a very good program for interns to get exposure to other departments. I'd definitely consider returning after I graduate.

    Cons

    Even though it is a private entity, still seems to be a dose of government-style lethargy and change is apparently bureaucratic and slow. Didn't encounter this personally, more from conversations with colleagues about their experiences.


  2. Good benefits

    Former Employee - Maryland in Rockville, MD
    Former Employee - Maryland in Rockville, MD

    I worked at FINRA full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great benefits, paid vacation that can be cashed in year end if not used. Nice people with good work ethic.

    Cons

    The department I was in had little room for advancement.


  3. Very Strong and Well Structured Internship Program

    Former Intern - Software Developer in Rockville, MD
    Former Intern - Software Developer in Rockville, MD
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at FINRA as an intern (Less than a year)

    Pros

    1. Interns are treated very professionally. I myself, along with my other intern friends were all pleasantly surprised at the level of professionalism that we were treated with. 2. You learn a lot about building/testing applications at scale. FINRA is one of the largest data processors out there, and you will encounter challenges in your projects working for them that you are very unlikely to have encountered before. 3. Flexible hours. As long as you clock your 40 hours a week, it doesn't matter if you work 7-3, 10-6, different amounts of hours on various days, etc. You of course have to make all of your scheduled meetings, which may be more sparse or frequent based on your position, but there is a lot of flexibility if you keep a good rapport with your management. 4. Lots of intern-specific events are available to you, such as a meet and greet with the CEO, multiple networking sessions, resume reviews, and mock interviews. We tech interns had some additional events, including introductions to various technologies that FINRA uses and an intimate meeting with the CTO. 5. Coworkers are all friendly and willing to help you. Again, in my experience, and from what I heard from the friends I made in the intern program, the employees at FINRA are generally very kind and will bail you out in a pinch. Work hard to build a good relationship with your boss and it will pay dividends in a lot of ways. 6. You get to do real work. This is true even for the non-tech interns. I actually even had the freedom to choose my project (from a list). At the end of the program, all of the interns got together and shared their experiences and there were some really cool things that people were doing. Interns are given a lot of room to work on their own, with coworkers being available to help as needed. This internship definitely is not the stereotypical internship that has you doing solely administrative work, or worse, nothing. 7. FINRA's technology department is growing very fast, and there are a lot of really cool things going on. They are in the process of renovating their tech offices to be more open and collaborative, as well as really stepping up their tech recruitment. There are a lot of interesting problems that need to be solved at FINRA.

    Cons

    1. Pay is not great for a tech internship. For the DC metro area, the intern salaries here are a little below average. You are paid exclusively based on how far along you are in your education and there is no room for negotiation. If you are not in need of every dollar you can get for tuition, though, I think the unique experience of working for FINRA is worth the lesser pay. I was originally a little bummed about the salary, but I ended the internship seeing it as a nice bonus on top of the vast experience I gained. I'm not sure how salaries compare to other ones in the area for non-tech internships (I believe they're pretty competitive). 2. You may not be totally sure what you'll be doing when you apply. The application process online to FINRA's tech intern program is very broad. From what I can tell, they try to match your skillset to a particular sector of the tech department at FINRA (which is massive, by the way), who will then look at your application and decide whether or not to extend you an interview. I had somewhat of an idea of what I'd be doing when I got there for day 1, but some other interns did not. 3. Bureaucracy. It will take time to get certain software packages installed and you will not get admin privileges on your machine. This can be a little frustrating at times, but it will all get solved in time. The most frustrating instance of this was that it took 1-2 weeks for we tech interns to get development machines. There was a mix-up with the IT distribution folks regarding what we would be needing to do our work, and it took a lot of time to sort this out. However, this was a widely shared concern at our final intern feedback session, and we were assured that they learned from the mix-up and it would not be a problem in the future.


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  5. Helpful (3)

    Great benefits ; poor two way communication

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Business Analyst in Rockville, MD
    Former Employee - Business Analyst in Rockville, MD
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at FINRA full-time (More than 8 years)

    Pros

    Co-workers knowledgeable and friendly. Great benefits though they have changed over the years.

    Cons

    Communication appears to be only among the executive level of the company. They hold town hall meetings and department meetings which is supposedly a time to let upper management exchange information two ways. However, it appears that very little nor any significant information from the first to middle management is listened to by the executive level. Trust level between upper management and lower level workers is low.

    Advice to Management

    Upper management would be wise to really listen to the line workers and middle management. Stop spending monies on "Professional Consultants". Just take time to really understand the front line work and the needs of the employees to do their job better. Be more truthful.


  6. Helpful (3)

    FINRA review

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Administrative Assistant II in Rockville, MD
    Current Employee - Administrative Assistant II in Rockville, MD
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Friendly coworkers, flexible schedule, generous leave policies.

    Cons

    Senior Management can be very dismissive of opinions from "underling" employees.


  7. Intern as a security engineer

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Intern - Anonymous Intern in Rockville, MD
    Former Intern - Anonymous Intern in Rockville, MD
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at FINRA as an intern (Less than a year)

    Pros

    Work-life balance, the company pays a lot of attention for software security middle-size company,

    Cons

    located in Rockville, MD, not a very hot place for IT guys

    Advice to Management

    Gives more priority to IT department, fewer useless meetings, gives interns more responsibilities


  8. Helpful (2)

    You get what you put in.

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Rockville, MD
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Rockville, MD
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at FINRA full-time (More than 10 years)

    Pros

    FINRA Technology Rocks - in general. There are ample opportunities to be creative and make a contribution to the FINRA mission through technology. FINRA chugs > 50 billion transactions per day and assembles a wide variety of data in support its regulatory obligations. That comes with many interesting technical and data challenges waiting for smart people to solve. If you have what it takes, then you can go far here. There is no shortage of challenging projects, only a shortage of truly talented people. So what does it take? Initiative, outside the box thinking, willing to go outside your comfort zone, common sense, and a collaborative work ethic. Someone who is willing to step out, and maybe step on a few toes in the process, will find this to be an invigorating place to work. Put in the energy, then it will likely pay off. If you don't put in the effort and just do your 9-5 thing, you won't get much out of FINRA other than a pay check. Benefits are good. 401k, healthcare, etc are as good or better than any company I've worked for. Annual bonus is icing on the cake. The pension plan is the cherry on top. Additionally, FINRA technology offers plenty of opportunities to learn new technologies. They will pay for conferences and training, tech teams offer brown bag sessions, technology days, and open collaborative wikis for technology sharing. Work schedule is flexible. Lot's of people trying to do the right thing.

    Cons

    FINRA faces many of the same organizational challenges as other large companies. It is a bureaucracy, hindered by old culture, government oversight, and the good old boy's network. This is orthogonal to the goals of an agile technology company.

    Advice to Management

    Read up on how other large silicon valley tech companies run their organizations and do the same. FINRA needs a flatter organization that empowers more people.


  9. Helpful (1)

    Politics

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Regulatory Analyst in Rockville, MD
    Former Employee - Regulatory Analyst in Rockville, MD
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at FINRA full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    Learn a lot about regulation. It is a great place to start out a career.

    Cons

    If you are not a "YES" man, you won't do well.


  10. Legal

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Great people, excellent infrastructure and benefits. Good work/life balance.

    Cons

    Being in a regulated industry, overseen by SEC, FINRA is a highly bureaucratic organization.


  11. Helpful (2)

    Comfortable but dull

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Rockville, MD
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Rockville, MD
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at FINRA full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    Great work life balance. Management was very supportive, helped me whenever I needed anything. Everyone there was friendly and relatively easy to work with. It was generally a low pressure environment; if you were smart and didn't surf the internet all day you would do fine. Also the salary was pretty good for me, since I was only a few years out of college.

    Cons

    Very bureaucratic, they reward loyalty much more than performance. Your best (or really only) opportunity to move into upper management was if your manager got promoted or left. Some people were able to transfer to other groups, but that's the rule rather than the exception. The work itself was relatively boring. You enforce esoteric rules and write pretty boring memos. Most of the smartest people ended up leaving after a year or two to do something more interesting.

    Advice to Management

    Be more receptive to new ideas. Maybe create a better career track for high performers so there's an incentive to stay.



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