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Do I Need a Lawyer for a CFP® Board Investigation?

Posted by Joel Beck | Aug 03, 2021 | 0 Comments

A common type of case we handle at The Beck Law Firm is a financial advisor facing an investigation from the CFP® Board. The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards sets and enforces the ethics and standards for financial planners certified by the organization. When these financial advisors come to us, they are often being investigated for some type of violation and are in danger of an enforcement action by the Board.

We do our best to help those who turn to us find a favorable outcome for their case, but unfortunately many more advisors do not seek help with their investigation. Oftentimes an advisor thinks that they can handle the matter on their own, particularly if they know they are innocent or can explain the situation. However, we believe this is a mistake.

If you are facing CFP® Board investigation, we strongly advise that you seek legal counsel, whether you are innocent, guilty, or think you can handle things yourself. Reality is, if the investigation goes poorly for you, you could face serious ramifications to your career and your CFP® certification.

Furthermore, consider what you're up against. In January 2021, Tom Sporkin became the organization's first-ever managing director for enforcement. This July, he wrote an opinion piece in Financial Planning about his new role. He discusses some recent changes within the organization, and then concludes with this statement…

“My team and I will be working tirelessly in the months and years ahead to weed out the bad actors and provide confidence to hard-working Americans that when they need financial advice, the CFP® professionals they retain are subject to an enforcement program that is the most respected and toughest in the profession.”

Did you catch that—he's aiming for the toughest enforcement program in the profession.

Now, we admit we don't know exactly what that means, or what that looks like. But we do know this: the CFP®Board is armed with a cadre of lawyers and investigators to investigate and bring an enforcement action against you when they believe it is warranted.

Don't take them on alone.

Make no mistake, the CFP® Board will bring an army—you need to have someone in your corner. Given the amount of work, dedication, time, and expense you've undertaken to earn your CFP® designation, you certainly want to protect it and your reputation to the best of your ability. The best way that you can help yourself is by seeking experienced legal counsel who will help you attain the best outcome for your case.

If you're facing a CFP® Board investigation, contact The Beck Law Firm, LLC. With more than two decades handling regulatory cases like yours, we can help you navigate the investigation, giving you honest counsel and seeking the best possible outcome given the circumstances. Give us a call at (678) 344-5342, or visit our website to learn more.

Financial advisors facing an investigation are also invited to request a free copy of Joel Beck's book The Financial Advisor's Guide to Regulatory Investigations. For those simply seeking more information on regulatory investigations, the book is also available for purchase on

About the Author

Joel Beck

Joel Beck founded The Beck Law Firm, LLC in 2007. His firm focused on business law and estate planning needs of clients, two areas that he was drawn to based upon personal and business experiences in his life, including a ten-year career at NASD (now known as FINRA).


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