CFP Board Mulls Changes to Disciplinary Approach on Bankruptcies

Board seeks public comment on replacing system regarding some cases

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The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards announced Wednesday that it’s seeking comments by Feb. 17 on whether to modify the way the board handles bankruptcy filings by CFPs.

As it stands now, the CFP Board asks CFP candidates on their initial application if they’ve filed for bankruptcy to determine whether they are “fit for CFP certification,” and in the case of a CFP professional, to determine whether the bankruptcy filing resulted from conduct that would warrant discipline. CFP professionals are asked on their CFP renewal application, which they must fill out every two years, whether they have filed for bankruptcy.  

The CFP Board says that it proposes replacing the current disciplinary approach to cases involving a "single bankruptcy filing (bankruptcy-only cases)" with a "non-disciplinary, disclosure-oriented approach" in which the public has access to notice of the bankruptcy filing to assist it in making an informed decision when evaluating whether to work with a CFP professional who has filed for bankruptcy.

Under the proposed approach, the CFP Board says that it “would no longer investigate and the Disciplinary and Ethics Commission would no longer hear bankruptcy-only cases.”

Rather, CFP Board would “verify the bankruptcy filing and note it in the individual’s public profile,” which is available through the Find a CFP Professional and/or Verify an Individual’s CFP Certification search functions on CFP Board’s website, as well as through responses CFP Board provides to individuals who contact CFP Board regarding an individual’s certification status.

This disclosure of the bankruptcy in an individual’s public profile, the CFP Board says, “would continue for 10 years from the date CFP Board is notified of the bankruptcy, whether through disclosure by the individual or discovery by CFP Board.”

The proposed approach of noting all bankruptcies filed in the past five years in an individual’s public profile “is aligned with its mission to benefit the public,” CFP Board says, and that this proposed approach will benefit CFP professionals and CFP candidates “because they will no longer be subject to potential discipline in bankruptcy-only cases.”

Final proposed amendments will be presented to the Board of Directors for review and approval in March.

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