The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards has announced public sanctions against 13 current or former CFP® professionals for violations of the profession’s ethical standards.
The CFP Board’s sanctions, in order of increasing severity, included five public censures, three suspensions, one temporary bar, one permanent bars, and three revocations of the right to use the CFP® marks. The enforcement actions were effective immediately or on the date noted in each case.
Among the three professionals to receive the most severe penalty was David R. Nute of Sequim, Washington, who had his certification and right to use the CFP certification marks revoked for failing to treat fellow professionals and others with dignity, courtesy, and respect. A former prospective client of Nute submitted a written grievance to the CFP Board regarding her case that occurred about two years ago. She stated that she had asked Nute if she could drop off copies of documents she needed for a potential transaction in person at his office instead of transmitting them electronically.
When Nute responded that his time was “too valuable” to make the trip to his office to pick up her documents, the former prospective client emailed him and said she no longer wanted to work with him. Nute responded to her email, stating, among other things: “It is totally ridiculous to expect me to drive into town and waste a couple hours of $1,000 hourly time,” and “I was only trying to help and your reactions tell me why your husband left you.”
The Disciplinary and Ethics Commision found that by using this language, Nute violated Standard A.7 of the Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct. The CFP Board said Nute did not show any remorse during the investigation or the hearing, did not treat CFP Board Counsel with dignity, respect, or professional courtesy and frequently referred to Counsel in derogatory terms and insulted them in written correspondence and verbally during the hearing.
As part of their certification, CFP® professionals make a commitment to abide by the CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct. Any alleged violations are investigated by the board and when there is probable cause to believe there are grounds for sanction, a complaint is filed with the board’s Disciplinary and Ethics Commission. If the Commission determines there are grounds for sanction, then it may impose a sanction. Members of the public can view any individual’s CFP Board disciplinary history and CFP certification status by checking CFP.net/verify.
Lewitas Hyman PC represents advisors, brokers and other financial professional in all matters involving the CFP Board, including CFP Board investigations. Headquartered in Chicago, our securities attorneys represent clients nationwide. For more information relating to CFP Board investigations and discipline or other matters, contact Lewitas Hyman at (888) 655-6002 or through our online contact form for a free consultation.