CFP rebuked over ‘misunderstanding’

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Last year, Alan Goldfarb abruptly resigned from his position as CFP Board chairman following allegations that he may have violated provisions of the CFP Board’s Standards of Professional Conduct in the US.

Goldfarb was co-author of the standards and disciplinary rules, and a CFP professional for about 35 years. In a letter announcing his resignation, he claimed that the allegations were a ‘misunderstanding’ and welcomed the ‘opportunity to engage in good faith [in] the CFP Board’s enforcement process’.

Last week, Reuters reported that Goldfarb would receive a “public letter of admonition” this month, from the CFP Board.

“The board is expected to say that Goldfarb, who also is affiliated with an insurance agency and a broker-dealer, received a salary from one of his other ventures that supplemented his fees,” Reuters said. This meant that Goldfarb inaccurately characterised himself as a fee-only adviser.

The CFP Board controls the correct usage of the CFP designation in the US. It has four forms of discipline that it could implement; Private censure; Public letter of admonition; Suspension; or Revocation.

A public letter of admonition is a written reproach of the respondent’s behaviour and it is standard procedure to publish the letter in a press release or other form of publicity. The Board issued 27 letters of admonition last year, along with 11 private censures, 17 suspensions and 41 revocations or administrative revocations of the CFP designation.

The designation is controlled in Australia by the FPA. The CFP Marks are solely owned by the Financial Planning Standards Board Ltd (FPSB) in the United States and used and administered by different members under licence.

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