Financial Planning: Process and Rules - Article 6: Investigation
ARTICLE 6: INVESTIGATION
Proceedings involving potential ethics violations shall be commenced upon: 1) receipt of information by CFP Board Counsel indicating a potential violation of the Code of Ethics, Rules of Conduct and/or non-compliance with the Practice Standards; or 2) disclosure by a Respondent of any matter constituting a potential violation of the Code of Ethics, Rules of Conduct and/or non-compliance with the Practice Standards.
6.2 Procedures for Investigation
Upon receipt of a request for investigation containing allegations which, if true, could give rise to a violation of the Code of Ethics, Rules of Conduct and/or non-compliance with the Practice Standards, or upon the acquisition by CFP Board Counsel of information which, if true, could give rise to a violation of the Code of Ethics, Rules of Conduct and/or non-compliance with the Practice Standards, CFP Board Counsel shall give written notice to the Respondent that the Respondent is under investigation and of the general nature of the allegations asserted against the Respondent. The Respondent shall have 30 calendar days from the date of notice of the investigation to file a written response to the allegations with the CFP Board.
(a) No Response. At the expiration of the 30 calendar-day period if no response has been received, CFP Board Counsel shall give written notice of a second request for information via certified mail. The Respondent shall have 20 calendar days from the date of the second request to file a written response to the allegations with CFP Board. At the expiration of the 20 calendar-day period if no response has been received, the matter shall be referred to the DEC.
(b) Adverse Inference. Failure to provide requested information may give rise to an adverse inference with respect to the underlying subject matter. An adverse inference is an inference, adverse to the concerned party, drawn from silence or absence of requested evidence. This rule applies to evidence that has been destroyed, evidence that exists but the party refuses to produce, and evidence that the party has under his/her control and has not produced. This adverse inference is based upon the presumption that the party who controls the evidence would have produced it, if it had been supportive of his/her position.
(c) Response. Upon receipt of a response within the prescribed time period, CFP Board Counsel shall compile all documents and materials and commence probable cause determination procedures as soon thereafter as is reasonably practicable.
6.3 Probable Cause Determination Procedures
CFP Board Counsel or his/her designee shall be responsible for determining if there is probable cause to believe grounds for discipline exist and shall: 1) dismiss the allegations as not warranting further investigation at this time; 2) dismiss the allegations with a letter of caution indicating that CFP Board Counsel has determined that based on the available evidence, the Respondent’s conduct may have violated the Code of Ethics, Rules of Conduct and/or not complied with the Practice Standards but does not warrant referral to the DEC; or 3) begin preparation and processing of a Complaint against the Respondent in accordance with Article 7. For matters that are dismissed, CFP Board reserves the right to reopen the investigation in the future if appropriate. When CFP Board Counsel issues a letter of caution, the Respondent may submit a letter in response to the letter of caution. The response letter will become part the Respondent’s record, but will not receive any additional consideration by CFP Board Counsel. The letter of caution and the response to the letter of caution will be available for consideration by the DEC.
CFP Board Counsel shall conduct CFP Board’s investigation as expeditiously as reasonably practicable.
A Respondent may not voluntarily relinquish his/her CFP® certification during the course of an investigation.