ARTICLE 14: SETTLEMENT PROCEDURE
A Respondent or CFP Board Counsel may propose an Offer of Settlement (“Offer”) in lieu of a disciplinary hearing pursuant to these Disciplinary Rules. Submitting an Offer shall stay all proceedings conducted pursuant to these Disciplinary Rules.
14.1 Offer of Settlement
CFP Board Counsel shall be permitted to negotiate settlements with Respondents on behalf of CFP Board where it is in the best interests of all parties to attempt to arrive at an expedited resolution. Either CFP Board counsel or Respondent may initiate the settlement negotiations. CFP Board Counsel and Respondent may negotiate violations and penalties, but not factual findings unless evidence proving the contrary is produced during negotiations. CFP Board Counsel shall be authorized to reach a provisional agreement for CFP Board. Upon agreement, the final Offer shall be reduced to writing and signed for presentation by both parties to the DEC. The Offer shall be in writing and must be submitted to CFP Board staff at least 40 calendar days prior to the Respondent’s scheduled disciplinary hearing. CFP Board Counsel may endorse the Offer to the Hearing Panel. A Hearing Panel shall consider the Offer and take one of the actions described in Articles 14.2 and 14.3. The Hearing Panel shall consider only one Offer after the Complaint is filed. Only the DEC shall have final decision making authority to accept or reject an Offer. The Offer shall contain and describe in reasonable detail:
(a) The act or practice which the Respondent is alleged to have engaged in or omitted;
(b) The principle, rule, regulation or statutory provision which such act, practice or omission to act is alleged to have violated;
(c) The mitigating factors that were considered during the negotiations;
(d) Any evidence produced during negotiations that exonerated or resulted in the recommendation of a lesser violation or penalty or the removal of same;
(e) Any other information CFP Board Counsel found relevant in settlement discussions.
(f) Proposed acceptance and a statement that the Respondent consents to the entry of the Offer; and
(g) A waiver of all rights of appeal to CFP Board’s Appeals Committee and the courts or to otherwise challenge or contest the validity of the Order issued if the Settlement Agreement is accepted. If negotiations between CFP Board Counsel and Respondent are unsuccessful, then Respondent shall have the right to present the Offer directly to the DEC.
14.2 Acceptance of Offer
If an Offer is accepted by a Hearing Panel, the decision of the Hearing Panel shall be reviewed by the DEC. The DEC’s decision to affirm the decision of the Hearing Panel to accept the Offer shall conclude the proceeding as of the date the Offer is accepted. If the Offer includes a penalty of revocation or suspension, the revocation or suspension shall become effective immediately upon execution of the Offer by the Hearing Panel and affirmation by the DEC.
14.3 Rejection of Offer; Counter Offer
If the Offer is rejected by a Hearing Panel, the Offer shall be deemed void and the matters raised in the Complaint shall be set for hearing at the next meeting of the DEC. The Respondent shall not be prejudiced by the prior Offer, and it shall not be given consideration in the determination of the issues involved in the pending or any other proceeding. If the Hearing Panel deems it appropriate, it may make a Counter Settlement Offer (“Counter Offer”) to the Respondent modifying the proposed finding(s) of fact, violation(s) and/or discipline. The Respondent must respond to CFP Board within 20 calendar days from the date of service of the counter Offer by either accepting or rejecting the Counter Offer. Respondent’s failure to respond within 20 calendar days shall be considered rejection of the Counter Offer. If the Counter Offer is rejected by the Respondent, the Offer and Counter Offer shall be deemed void and the matters raised in the Complaint will be set for hearing at the next meeting of the DEC. The Respondent shall not be prejudiced by the prior Offer or the Counter Offer, and neither shall be given consideration in the determination of the issues involved in the pending or any other proceeding.
Articles 15 and 16
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