ARTICLE 17: CONFIDENTIALITY OF PROCEEDINGS
Except as otherwise provided in these Disciplinary Rules, all proceedings conducted pursuant to these Disciplinary Rules shall be confidential and the records of the DEC, Hearing Panel, CFP Board Counsel and CFP Board staff shall remain confidential and shall not be made public.
17.2 Exceptions to Confidentiality
CFP Board may release the records of the proceedings, subject to privilege, if: 1) the proceeding is predicated on a criminal conviction or professional discipline as defined herein; 2) the Respondent has waived confidentiality; 3) such disclosure is required by legal process of a court of law, governmental agency or an industry self-regulatory organization having appropriate jurisdiction; 4) CFP Board Counsel provides the information to a governmental agency or industry self-regulatory organization having appropriate jurisdiction; or 5) in proceedings involving a consumer, CFP Board staff contacts the consumer and/or the Respondent’s current and/or former employer to request documents relevant to the proceeding.
ARTICLE 18: GENERAL PROVISIONS
Two-thirds of the members of the DEC must be present in order to constitute a quorum of such DEC, and the approval of a majority of the quorum shall be the action of such DEC.
18.2 Notice and Service
Except as may otherwise be provided in these Disciplinary Rules, notice shall be in writing and the giving of notice and/or service shall be sufficient when made by certified mail sent to the last known address of the Respondent according to the records of CFP Board. In matters where a Respondent has designated counsel, notice and service shall be accomplished by certified mail to counsel’s address as provided by Respondent.
All documents received by CFP Board shall be date-stamped and deemed filed on the date received by CFP Board. All such documents shall become part of the investigative file.
In all disciplinary cases wherein a proceeding is initiated, the DEC will assess against the Respondent the costs of the proceedings. In addition, a Respondent who desires an appearance, whether telephonically or in person, or a paper review, or who submits an Offer of Settlement pursuant to Article 14, will be required to submit hearing costs not less than 45 days prior to the date of the scheduled hearing. In the event that the hearing results in a dismissal without merit, the hearing costs shall be refunded to the Respondent. Hearing costs will not be refunded if the hearing results in any action other than a dismissal without merit. A Respondent who petitions for reinstatement from a suspension or revocation or who petitions for appeal shall bear the costs of such proceeding.
Financial hardship. In the event a Respondent is unable to pay the required hearing costs due to financial hardship, the Respondent must submit a written statement and supporting documentation explaining his or her financial situation and request a deferral, reduction or waiver of the hearing costs. Upon receipt and review of such request, CFP Board Counsel shall have the discretion to defer, reduce or waive the required hearing costs. All written requests for a reduction or waiver of hearing costs due to financial hardship must be submitted with Respondent’s Answer to the Complaint.
18.5 Electronic Signature
Some documents that require a handwritten signature may be submitted electronically through CFP Board’s closed website. Any document received by CFP Board through this process shall constitute conclusive proof that: 1) the Respondent whose name appears on the document submitted such document; and 2) the Respondent intended to be bound by the terms and conditions contained therein. Accordingly, the document shall be as legally binding as any containing a handwritten signature.
It shall be standard procedure to publish the fact of an interim suspension, Public Letter of Admonition, suspension, revocation or permanent bar issued pursuant to Article 4, together with identification of the CFP® professional in a press release and on CFP Board’s website. In the event proceedings pursuant to Article 14 result in a Public Letter of Admonition, suspension, revocation, or otherwise result in a termination of the right to use the marks, it shall be standard procedure to publish such fact together with identification of the Respondent in a press release and on CFP Board’s website.
18.7 Anonymous Case Histories and Sanction Guidelines
Anonymous Case Histories are available through CFP Board’s website. Anonymous Case Histories are summaries of prior decisions rendered by the DEC. While the Anonymous Case Histories may be relied on by the DEC during hearings and deliberations, the Anonymous Case Histories are not binding on the DEC. The DEC considers all allegations of misconduct on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the details specific to each case. While CFP Board has attempted to capture in the Anonymous Case Histories the details relevant to each DEC decision, the summary nature of an Anonymous Case History may omit certain details affecting the decision. Accordingly, the decisions and/or rationale described in the Anonymous Case History may not apply to other cases reviewed by the DEC or reflect the DEC’s future interpretation or application of the Standards. The Sanction Guidelines identify specific conduct that is a violation of CFP Board’s Standards, the sanction guideline for that conduct and policy notes for the DEC to consider when imposing the appropriate sanction. The DEC is not bound by the Sanction Guidelines, which are intended, along with the Anonymous Case Histories, to guide the decision making of the DEC. When considering the appropriate sanction in a particular case, the DEC may deviate from the sanction guideline if there are aggravating facts that warrant a more severe sanction or mitigating factors that warrant a less severe sanction.
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