In a move it hopes will promote transparency and accountability, the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards said it will no longer hold back information when reporting on public sanctions imposed on its professionals.
“There is a general movement within the CFP Board to demystify the disciplinary process,” said CFP Board Chair Dan Moisand. “The process is public, and we want to bring more visibility to that.”
The board in the past published information that did not give the full story of rulings by its Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (DEC) to impose public sanctions on individuals. The explanations in news releases were brief, and detailed redacted DEC orders were provided through the board’s “Anonymous Case Histories” database.
But to uphold its Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct, the board said it will now include the full DEC orders when issuing news releases about public sanctions against its professionals. The orders will also be included in individuals’ profiles on the CFP Board’s search engines, “Verify a CFP Professional” and “Find Your CFP Professional.”
The board said it will continue to eliminate firm names or the names of individuals other than the sanctioned CFP mark holders when issuing public sanctions. The reason, Moisand said, is that the sanctions are directed to the individuals certified by the board. Also, the board does not certify firms.
Moisand said the new publishing practice will give people a clear picture of how the DEC comes to its decisions. “They will see the high level of professionalism that the DEC peer group brings to the process in making these decisions. It’s a serious matter, and they take it seriously. They are thorough, and they are professionals,” he said.
According to the board’s website, the DEC, made up of CFP professionals, meets at least six times a year. It reviews any matter in which the board has alleged that one of its mark holders has violated its Code and Standards (or its predecessor standards). The commission also looks into whether individuals pursuing CFP certification have violated its “Pathway Agreement,” which outlines the ways candidates are to conduct themselves in an ethical manner before, during and after the examination for the license.
“These changes reflect CFP Board’s dedication to maintaining CFP certification as the standard for competent and ethical financial planning,” said the board’s CEO, Kevin Keller, in a statement. “CFP Board is committed to maintaining an enforcement process that is credible to the public and fair to those whose conduct is being evaluated. By increasing transparency and accountability, CFP Board is taking an important step to boost the public’s trust and confidence in the profession.”