The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards’ board on Tuesday took several steps to strengthen its enforcement program, including announcing the launch of an independent task force to review and make “actionable recommendations” for updating enforcement practices.
Susan John, chair of CFP Board’s board of directors, said on a Tuesday call that throughout 2019, the CFP Board has been reviewing its enforcement procedures to be ready when its new Code and Standards go into effect on Oct. 1.
The new task force will also be looking at “some important issues” raised by the Wall Street Journal analysis released Monday concerning enforcement of CFP certification and the search function of the organization’s consumer-facing website, LetsMakeaPlan.org.
Effective immediately, however, CFP Board made the following changes to improve its enforcement processes and consumer website including:
- No longer solely relying on self-disclosure of CFP professionals;
- Checking FINRA’s BrokerCheck and the SEC’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosure database each time a CFP professional renews; and
- Providing consumers access to BrokerCheck and IAPD information on LetsMakeaPlan.org and CFP.net/verify.
The Journal analysis published Monday stated that LetsMakeaPlan.org omits client complaints about CFPs, as well as planners’ criminal or regulatory problems.
The Journal article states that LetsMakeAPlan.org gives no indication “that thousands of the planners bearing the board’s seal of approval have had customer complaints or faced criminal or regulatory problems — often directly related to their work with clients.”
John said on the Tuesday call that “it is the board’s intent to continually update our enforcement efforts to enforce the standards we’re setting for the benefit of the public.”
As CFP Board noted in its public statement on Monday, “CFP Board and FINRA are two different organizations with different mandates,” she continued. “FINRA has significant resources and reach, more than CFP Board. We have a different process than FINRA as well. Our disclosure is based on a systematic review of disciplinary process, and to not publicize allegations absent this review process.”
John said the task force’s recommendations “will strengthen the value of CFP certification.”