CFP® Certificants in the News

The annual rate of public discipline against CFP® Certificants is estimated at less than two tenths of one percent. Yet, even the best of professions needs ethical enforcement. For example, CFP Board published a notice of public discipline against 13 Certificants on June 3, 2020. We will not repeat the names of those disciplined here, but the factors that went into the disciplinary actions are noteworthy. Before we dive into specific cases, CFP Board describes its disciplinary mission thusly:

“CFP Board enforces its ethical standards by investigating incidents of alleged violations and, where there is probable cause to believe there are grounds for discipline, presenting a Complaint containing the alleged violations to CFP Board’s Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) pursuant to CFP Board’s Disciplinary Rules and Procedures (Disciplinary Rules).

If the Commission determines there are grounds for discipline, then it may impose a sanction ranging from a private censure or letter of admonition to the [temporary] suspension or [permanent] revocation of the right to use the CFP® marks. CFP Board’s Disciplinary Rules set forth the process for investigating matters and imposing discipline where violations have been found.” 

Select examples from the June 3 notice follow in the summaries below:

Public Letter of Admonition – Abusing Employer’s Expense Policy

The CFP® Certificant consented with the Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) to a public letter of admonition that he “converted” funds from his employer by claiming and receiving an expense reimbursement for a computer for which he was not entitled under the firm’s policy. He was allowed to resign by his firm.

In a separate action related to the same incident, he consented to a FINRA cautionary letter.

Suspension – Failure to Disclose Compensation, Failure to Keep Form ADV accurate

The Commission issued an order of one year suspension of the right to use the CFP® mark against the CFP® Certificant after learning that he paid a $12,000 fine to his State Financial Regulatory body and “entered into a Stipulation and Consent Agreement“ as follows:

  1. “failing to maintain an accurate Form ADV;
  2. failing to update the correct address for his firm on his Form U4 timely and failing to disclose that he is a licensed insurance agent;
  3. failing to maintain written information about each advisory client that was the basis for making recommendations or providing investment advice to those clients;
  4. recommending the purchase and sale of securities without reasonable grounds to believe the recommendations were suitable for the respective customers; and
  5. failing to ensure that all contracts were dated, signed by all parties, and disclosed the appropriate advisory fee.”

We commend the overwhelmingly vast majority of CFP® Certificants who bring honor to the profession and applaud CFP Board’s enthusiasm for guarding the integrity of the CFP® mark.