On July 29, 2019, InvestmentNews.com (citing an article by the Wall Street Journal) noted that the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards “fails to list regulatory and criminal misconduct and customer complaints for thousands of its credential holders.” This is particularly concerning because Certified Financial Planners (CFPs) are held to a strict fiduciary standard. As noted on the CFP Board’s website:
When it comes to ethics and professional responsibility, CFP® professionals are held to the highest of standards. They are obliged to uphold the principles of integrity, objectivity, competence, fairness, confidentiality, professionalism and diligence as outlined in CFP Board’s Code of Ethics. The Rules of Conduct require CFP® professionals to put your interests ahead of their own at all times and to provide their financial planning services as a “fiduciary”—acting in the best interest of their financial planning clients. CFP®professionals are subject to CFP Board sanctions if they violate these standards.
The article further notes that the Wall Street Journal “found that more than 6,300 CFPs had Finra disclosures that were not mentioned on the CFP Board’s consumer-facing website.” FINRA does not hold its members to strict fiduciary standards – and FINRA’s own disclosure policies and procedures have come under fire in the past several years.
For years, CFPs and the CFP Board have told investors the same thing than all financial advisors tell their clients: “Trust Us…. We have your best interests in mind.” However, how can investors trust an organization that claims to hold itself to the high standard of a fiduciary and yet fails to disclose criminal and regulatory issues relating to nearly 10% of its members (as of June 30, 2019, the CFP Board reported that there were 84,438 CFP Certificants)?
The unfortunate truth is they can’t. Investors must ALWAYS remain diligent in their dealings with any financial professional, regardless of designation. Despite what a financial advisor (or an organization of financial advisors) may tell you, only you can protect your interests.
The Kueser Law Firm represents investors that have been victimized by unscrupulous behavior by financial advisors, CFPs, stockbrokers, and the litany of other terms and designations used by financial “professionals.” If you have been the victim of bad investment advice, please feel free to contact Jason Kueser at (816) 374-5865.