Jeffrey and Kimberly Camarda said Thursday that they are appealing the recent ruling by Judge Richard J. Leon of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissing their case against the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards in order to right “grave wrongs” the decision places on the industry.
Leon stated in his recently unsealed ruling that the CFP Board “followed its own rules throughout the disciplinary proceedings” against the Camardas when the Board claimed they violated its fee-only definition in reference to their firm, Camarda Wealth Advisory, in Fleming Island, Florida.
The Camardas said in a Thursday statement that “after very deep consideration,” they are appealing Leon’s decision to “dismiss our case against the CFP Board,” and that they have requested a public trial on the merits of their case.
“We believe there to be substantial legal merit for our appeal to be successful, and that we will ultimately prevail at the ensuing trial,” the two said. “This road has been long for us and we do not undertake its continuation lightly.”
The Camardas went on to say they believe there are “grave wrongs to be righted” in the judge’s decision, “with the welfare of the profession, and of the client public, hanging in the balance.”
But CFP Board stated in a comment shared with ThinkAdvisor that it “stands behind Judge Leon’s determination that CFP Board complied with the law when it imposed a sanction based upon a finding by other CFP professionals and members of the public that the Camardas violated CFP Board’s rules.”
CFP Board “believes that the judge’s decision will stand and that an appeals court will agree with Judge Leon that CFP Board ‘followed its own rules throughout the disciplinary proceedings,’ and that there is ‘no evidence that [CFP Board] was motivated by bad faith or ill will’ in disciplining the Camardas.”
The Camardas went on to state in their statement announcing the appeal that it has “been most improper for CFP Board to have commented on details of our case, when we were, and are, owed a duty of confidentiality as this case continues. We have found this astonishing, and in sharp juxtaposition to the organization’s principles.”
Also, they stated, “we believe it has been quite misleading for CFP Board to contend its process is ‘fair,’ when it, for the same alleged ‘offense,’ has offered resolutions ranging from blanket amnesty and private deals, to the admonition and forced resignation of its own chairman – a chairman who had a hand in writing the very rules he was accused of violating, and claims they were incredibly distorted in order to prosecute him because it served political ends.”
The Camardas are referring to CFP Board’s previous chairman, Alan Goldfarb, who was found to have violated the CFP Board’s Rules of Conduct for failing to properly disclose his compensation.
Goldfarb’s departure along with three other CFP Board board members following a sanction over their failure to comply with the Board’s fee-only definition, sparked the debate over CFP Board’s compensation rules.
CFP Board announced in late May that it would launch a new investigative process to identify certificants who inaccurately disclose their compensation methods on the Board website’s “Find a CFP” tool.
The Camardas also stated in their Thursday announcement of the appeal that “CFP Board’s recent statements about us reveal a very small portion of the record in this case, and contain material and demonstrable falsehoods. We look forward to the day when the whole truth will be unsealed for all to see, and that actual fairness by the common definition be restored.”
Brian Hamburger, CEO of MarketCounsel, told ThinkAdvisor after Judge Leon threw out the Camardas’ case that with the judge’s ruling “in the same way that driving is a privilege and not a right, CFP certificants should now be on notice that, when they click through those terms and conditions, they hand a set of keys to their career over to the CFP Board.”
He adds, “It’s those terms and conditions of certification to which certificants agree to comply with the CFP Board’s standards of professional conduct, including its code of ethics and professional responsibility, rules of conduct, practice standards, and disciplinary rules and procedures. If certificants don’t agree or understand with them, their recourse is to give up their use of the CFP mark well before any inquiry or dispute ensues. And that’s because nobody, not even a federal court, is going to second-guess the CFP Board’s decisions so long as they follow their own, private due process.”
— Check out Judge Says CFP Board ‘Followed Its Own Rules’ in Disciplining Camardas on ThinkAdvisor.