If you are a financial advisor who is a Certified Financial Planner ®, you should be careful when responding to a Notice of Investigation from the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (the CFP Board). Sending you the Notice is the formal manner in which an investigation into your conduct is commenced by the CFP Board. The outcome of that investigation could be that the matter is closed without action, or it could result in a formal Complaint being issued against you that might lead to sanctions being imposed. Those sanctions might take the form of a private censure, a public letter of admonition, a suspension of your right to use the CFP® marks for a certain period of time, or a permanent revocation of your designation as a CFP® and your right to use the CFP® marks. You've worked hard to earn the designation, and you should be cautious and wise in working to keep it.
The CFP Board investigation and disciplinary process are set forth in their Disciplinary Rules and Procedures, and once you receive a Notice of Investigation, you have a limited time in which to respond. As such, you'll want to consult with experienced legal counsel immediately, so that your situation and defenses can be analyzed, and a proper response prepared and submitted within the time limits. From there, your lawyer will represent you throughout the remainder of the investigation, as well as before a hearing panel if a formal complaint is filed against you. Often, these complaints are resolved through a negotiated settlement, but some cases involve a hearing and possibly an appeal.
If you are a CFP®, know that the CFP Board will be represented by legal counsel throughout the investigation and discipline process.Be sure that you work with an experienced attorney in this process as well, to seek the most favorable outcome possible for you. At The Beck Law Firm, LLC, we have experience representing clients in matters relating to CFP Board investigations.
If we can be of help to you with regard to a CFP Board investigation, I invite you to contact us.