Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) announced public sanctions against 40 current or former CFP® professionals, effective immediately or on the date noted in each case. Public sanctions taken by CFP Board, in order of increasing severity, include Public Censures, Suspensions, Temporary Bars, Permanent Bars and Revocations of the right to use the CFP® marks.
In December 2020, CFP Board announced that it had completed background checks on all CFP® professionals to detect potential misconduct that previously had not been reported to CFP Board. Misconduct can include regulatory actions, firm terminations, customer complaints, arbitrations, and civil court litigation that involve professional conduct, criminal matters, bankruptcies, civil judgments, and tax liens. From these background checks, CFP Board opened “Historical Investigations” into the conduct of 1,266 CFP® professionals. More than half of the 40 public sanctions announced in this news release are the result of those Historical Investigations.
“CFP Board continues to hold CFP® professionals accountable if we determine that they violate CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct,” said Thomas Sporkin, Managing Director, Enforcement at CFP Board. “Our enforcement process is defined and comprehensive, yet fair to those whose conduct is being evaluated and credible to the public. Our enforcement program is a critical consumer benefit that sets CFP® certification apart from other credentials and designations in the financial services industry.”
CFP Board’s Enforcement Process
As part of their certification, CFP® professionals make a commitment to CFP Board to abide by CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct (Code and Standards), or its predecessor, the Standards of Professional Conduct (Standards), which included the Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility, Rules of Conduct and Financial Planning Practice Standards. CFP Board’s Procedural Rules set forth the process for investigating matters and imposing sanctions where violations have been found.
CFP Board enforces its ethical standards by investigating alleged violations and, where there is probable cause to believe there are grounds for sanction, presents a Complaint containing the alleged violations to CFP Board’s Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission). The Commission meets at least six times a year to review any matter in which CFP Board has alleged that a CFP® professional has violated the Code and Standards, or its predecessor Standards. The Commission functions in accordance with the Procedural Rules and reviews all matters on a case-by-case basis, considering the details specific to an individual case.
If the Commission determines there are grounds for sanction, then it may impose a sanction. More information on CFP Board’s enforcement process can be found at CFP.net/ethics/enforcement.
The Public Sanctions
A short summary of each sanction can be found below. At CFP.net/verify-a-cfp-professional, CFP Board provides the public with: