CFP Board Censures Improper CFP® Professional Conduct

WASHINGTON, Feb. 10, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) announced today public disciplinary actions against the following individuals' right to use the CFP® certification marks, effective immediately or on the date noted in each case. Public disciplinary actions taken by CFP Board, in order of increasing severity, include letters of admonition, suspensions and permanent revocations.

This release contains information about disciplinary actions relating to 15 CFP® professionals. Of these actions, there were 4 revocations, 4 suspensions, 1 interim suspension and 6 letters of admonition.

The basis for each decision can be found in a Disciplinary Action Report below and on CFP Board's Web site. The public may check on an individual's disciplinary history and certification status with CFP Board at www.CFP.net/verify.

CFP Board's enforcement process is a critical consumer protection. CFP® professionals agree to abide by CFP Board's Standards of Professional Conduct (Standards), which includes the Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility (Code of Ethics), Rules of Conduct and Financial Planning Practice Standards (Practice Standards). The Standards set forth the ethical standards for financial planners who hold the CFP® certification, who agree to act fairly and diligently when providing clients with financial planning advice and services, putting the clients' interests first.

CFP Board enforces its ethical standards by investigating incidents of alleged unethical behavior, and following the procedures established in CFP Board's Disciplinary Rules and Procedures. In cases where violations are found, CFP Board may impose discipline ranging from a private censure or public letter of admonition to the suspension or revocation of the right to use the CFP® marks. The Disciplinary Rules and Procedures set forth a fair process for investigating matters and imposing discipline where violations have been found.

The actions in this release result from final decisions of the Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission).  The Commission meets three times a year to provide a fair, unbiased review of any matter in which a CFP® professional is alleged to have committed violations of the Standards.  

The Commission functions in accordance with the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures and reviews all matters on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the details specific to an individual case. While CFP Board has attempted to capture the details relevant to each decision, the summary nature of these releases may omit certain details affecting the decision. Accordingly, the decisions and/or rationale described in the releases may not apply to other cases reviewed by the Commission or reflect the Commission's future interpretation or application of the Standards.

 

STATE

NAME

LOCATION

DISCIPLINE

Florida

Robert R. Liggero, CFP®

Atlantic Beach

Letter of Admonition

California

R. Steven Wilkinson

Oakland

Revocation

Connecticut

Noah L. Myers

Lyme

Revocation

Georgia

Wesley C. Brumfield, CFP®

Alpharetta

Letter of Admonition

Illinois

Dan Glick

Orland Park

Revocation

Illinois

Joel Robert Heffington

Hinsdale

Suspension

Iowa

Chris B. Steele

West Des Moines

Suspension

Maine

R. Kenneth Lindell, CFP®

Bangor

Letter of Admonition

Minnesota

Barbara J. Stark

Eden Prairie

Interim Suspension

New Jersey

Dennis Lerner

Edgewater

Suspension

New York

Bryan Mackey, CFP®

Buffalo

Letter of Admonition

Oregon

Jeffery O. Briggs, CFP®

Bend

Letter of Admonition

Pennsylvania

Robert C. Wheeling

Lititz

Revocation

Texas

Travis Hughes, CFP®

El Paso

Letter of Admonition

Virginia

Jeffrey S. Geraci

Virginia Beach

Suspension

LETTERS OF ADMONITION

FLORIDA

Robert R. Liggero, CFP® (Atlantic Beach):  In November 2013, following a review by CFP Board's Disciplinary and Ethics Commission, CFP Board issued a Letter of Admonition to Mr. Liggero.  This discipline followed Mr. Liggero's entry into a settlement agreement with CFP Board in which he consented to CFP Board's findings that he entered into a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) in connection with forgery of a client's signature on account documents.  The clients, who were also registered representatives at Mr. Liggero's firm, approved of the transactions accomplished by the account documents.  Mr. Liggero consented to violations of Rules 102, 201, 606(a) and 607 of CFP Board's Code of Ethics, providing grounds for discipline pursuant to Article 3(a) of CFP Board's Disciplinary Rules and Procedures.  The Commission determined to deviate from CFP Board's Sanction Guidelines because Mr. Liggero's conduct did not harm the clients and he did not benefit from the conduct. The Commission also noted that Mr. Liggero had a clean disciplinary record prior to this incident and that FINRA expunged the U-5 filing by his employer. Accordingly, the Commission admonished Mr. Liggero with regard to the above-mentioned conduct. 

GEORGIA

Wesley C. Brumfield, CFP® (Alpharetta): In November 2013, following a review by CFP Board's Disciplinary and Ethics Commission, CFP Board issued a Letter of Admonition to Mr. Brumfield. This discipline followed Mr. Brumfield's entry into a settlement agreement with CFP Board in which he consented to CFP Board's findings that he executed stock purchase transactions, with oral authorization from the client, in an account for which he did not have written discretionary authority.  Mr. Brumfield consented to violations of Rules 4.3, 4.4, 5.1 and 6.5 of CFP Board's Code of Ethics, providing grounds for discipline pursuant to Article 3(a) of CFP Board's Disciplinary Rules and Procedures. The Commission considered in mitigation that Mr. Brumfield's conduct did not result in any client harm or client complaints and he subsequently modified his procedures in response to his conduct. Accordingly, the Commission admonished Mr. Brumfield with regard to the above-mentioned conduct. 

MAINE

R. Kenneth Lindell, CFP® (Bangor):  In November 2013, following a review by CFP Board's Disciplinary and Ethics Commission, CFP Board issued a Letter of Admonition to Mr. Lindell. This discipline followed Mr. Lindell's entry into a settlement agreement with CFP Board in which he consented to CFP Board's findings that he had entered into a 2013 consent order from the State of Maine relating to the transaction of investment advisory business without proper licensure.  Mr. Lindell consented to a violation of Rule 4.3 of CFP Board's Rules of Conduct, providing grounds for discipline pursuant to Article 3(a) of CFP Board's Disciplinary Rules and Procedures. Accordingly, the Commission admonished Mr. Lindell with regard to the above-mentioned conduct. 

NEW YORK

Bryan Mackey, CFP® (Buffalo): In November 2013, following a review by CFP Board's Disciplinary and Ethics Commission, CFP Board issued a Letter of Admonition to Mr. Mackey. This discipline followed Mr. Mackey's entry into a settlement agreement with CFP Board in which he consented to CFP Board's findings that he executed 17 transactions in a customer's account when he did not have written authorization from the customer to place the transactions.  The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) suspended Mr. Mackey for 15 business days and fined him $5,000. Mr. Mackey consented to violations of Rules 1.4, 4.3, 4.4, 5.1 and 6.5 of CFP Board's Rules of Conduct, providing grounds for discipline pursuant to Articles 3(a) and 3(d) of CFP Board's Disciplinary Rules and Procedures. The Commission noted in mitigation that Mr. Mackey's conduct involved one client and occurred on one day. Accordingly, the Commission admonished Mr. Richards with regard to the above-mentioned conduct. 

OREGON

Jeffrey O. Briggs, CFP® (Bend): In November 2013, following a review by CFP Board's Disciplinary and Ethics Commission, CFP Board issued a Letter of Admonition to Mr. Briggs. This discipline followed Mr. Briggs' entry into a settlement agreement with CFP Board in which he consented to CFP Board's findings that he failed to provide services diligently when he sold clients a tenancy in common interest that concentrated the clients' total net worth and investable assets into an illiquid investment.  In addition, Mr. Briggs failed to perform a cash flow analysis to determine if the clients would have sufficient income and liquid assets to cover their living expenses after purchasing the tenancy in common.  Mr. Briggs consented to a violation of Rule 701 of CFP Board's Code of Ethics, providing grounds for discipline pursuant to Article 3(a) of CFP Board's Disciplinary Rules and Procedures.  Accordingly, the Commission admonished Mr. Briggs with regard to the above-mentioned conduct. 

TEXAS

Travis Hughes, CFP® (El Paso): In December 2013, following a review by CFP Board's Disciplinary and Ethics Commission, CFP Board issued a Letter of Admonition to Mr. Hughes. This discipline followed the Commission's determination that Mr. Hughes induced a client to approve an increase in his commission for a company 401(k) plan, which increased the total costs for plan participants. The Commission determined that Mr. Hughes' conduct violated Rules 1.4, 4.4 and 6.5 of CFP Board's Rules of Conduct, providing grounds for discipline pursuant to Article 3(a) of CFP Board's Disciplinary Rules and Procedures.  Accordingly, the Commission admonished Mr. Hughes with regard to the above-mentioned conduct. 

INTERIM SUSPENSION

MINNESOTA

Barbara J. Stark (Eden Prairie): In September 2013, CFP Board issued Ms. Stark an automatic Interim Suspension of her right to use the CFP® certification marks.  CFP Board issued an automatic interim suspension after discovering that Ms. Stark been issued an order by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) barring her from association with FINRA members in any capacity.  FINRA barred Ms. Stark due to her failure to respond to FINRA's request for testimony.  Pursuant to Article 5.7 of the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures (Disciplinary Rules), "An interim suspension shall immediately be issued without a hearing when CFP Board Counsel receives evidence of a conviction or a professional discipline in accordance with Article 13.1 … for revocation of a financial professional license." Under the Interim Suspension order, Ms. Stark's right to use the CFP® marks is suspended pending CFP Board's completed investigation and possible further disciplinary proceedings.  The Interim Suspension order became effective on October 19, 2013. 

SUSPENSIONS

ILLINOIS

Joel Robert Heffington (Hinsdale): In December 2013, following a hearing before CFP Board's Disciplinary and Ethics Commission, CFP Board issued an order suspending Mr. Heffington's right to use the CFP® certification marks for two years. This discipline followed the Commission's determination that Mr. Heffington filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in 1996 and again in 2010, demonstrating a continued inability to manage his personal finances. The Commission found that Mr. Heffington's conduct violated Rule 6.5 of CFP Board's Rules of Conduct and Rule 607 of CFP Board's Code of Ethics, providing grounds for discipline pursuant to Articles 3(a) of CFP Board's Disciplinary Rules and Procedures (Disciplinary Rules). In accordance with Article 4.3 of the Disciplinary Rules, the Commission suspended Mr. Heffington's right to use the CFP® certification marks for two years. The Commission determined that there were sufficient mitigating circumstances to warrant a deviation from CFP Board's Sanction Guidelines.  Mr. Heffington's suspension is effective from January 5, 2014 to January 5, 2016.

IOWA

Chris B. Steele (West Des Moines): In November 2013, following a review by CFP Board's Disciplinary and Ethics Commission, CFP Board issued an order suspending Mr. Steele's right to use the CFP® certification marks for one year and one day. This discipline followed the Commission's determination that Mr. Steele was convicted of Operating While Intoxicated on two occasions in 2002 and again 2008 and of Public Intoxication Conviction in 2012.  Mr. Steele entered into a settlement agreement with CFP Board in which he consented to CFP Board's findings and discipline. CFP Board determined that Mr. Steele's conduct violated Rule 6.5 of CFP Board's Rules of Conduct and Rule 607 of CFP Board's Code of Ethics, providing grounds for discipline pursuant to Articles 3(a) and 3(c) of CFP Board's Disciplinary Rules and Procedures (Disciplinary Rules).  In accordance with Article 4.3 of the Disciplinary Rules, the Commission suspended Mr. Steele's right to use the CFP® certification marks for one year and one day.  Mr. Steele's suspension is effective from November 8, 2013 to November 9, 2014.

NEW JERSEY

Dennis Lerner (Edgewater): In October 2013, following a hearing before CFP Board's Disciplinary and Ethics Commission, CFP Board issued an order suspending Mr. Lerner's right to use the CFP® certification marks for five years.  CFP Board's Disciplinary and Ethics Commission found that Mr. Lerner: 1) participated personally, substantially and willfully in a matter as an employee of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in which he and an organization with whom he was negotiating employment had a financial interest, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 208; and 2) willfully disclosed tax return information to another as an employee of the IRS, in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 7213. The Commission determined that Mr. Lerner's conduct violated Rules 3.1, 3.2, 5.1 and 6.5 of CFP Board's Rules of Conduct, which provided grounds for discipline pursuant to Articles 3(a) and 3(c) of CFP Board's Disciplinary Rules and Procedures (Disciplinary Rules).  In accordance with Article 4.3 of the Disciplinary Rules, Mr. Lerner's right to use the CFP® certification marks is suspended for five years.  Mr. Lerner's suspension is effective from January 5, 2014 to January 5, 2019.

VIRGINIA

Jeffrey S. Geraci (Virginia Beach): In December 2013, following a hearing before CFP Board's Disciplinary and Ethics Commission, CFP Board issued an order suspending Mr. Geraci's right to use the CFP® certification marks for one year and one day. This discipline followed Mr. Geraci's entry into a settlement agreement with CFP Board in which he consented to CFP Board's findings that he made an unsuitable recommendation that an elderly client invest in a note issued by Mr. Geraci's employer. CFP Board determined that Mr. Geraci's recommendation was inconsistent with the client's investment objectives and financial condition and that Mr. Geraci failed to sufficiently research the financial condition of the firm issuing the note.  Mr. Geraci consented to violations of Rules 1.4, 3.3, 4.4, 4.5 and 6.5 of CFP Board's Rules of Conduct, providing grounds for discipline pursuant to Article 3(a) and 3(d) of CFP Board's Disciplinary Rules and Procedures (Disciplinary Rules). In accordance with Article 4.3 of the Disciplinary Rules, the Commission suspended Mr. Geraci's right to use the CFP® certification marks for one year and one day.  Mr. Geraci's suspension is effective from January 4, 2014 to January 5, 2015.

REVOCATIONS

CALIFORNIA

R. Steven Wilkinson (Oakland):  In November 2013, following a review by CFP Board's Disciplinary and Ethics Commission, CFP Board issued an order permanently revoking Mr. Wilkinson's right to use the CFP® certification marks. This discipline followed the Commission's determination that Mr. Wilkinson filed for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in 2000 and Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in 2012, demonstrating a continued inability to manage his personal finances.  The Commission determined that Mr. Wilkinson's conduct violated Rule 6.5 of CFP Board's Rules of Conduct, providing grounds for discipline pursuant to Article 3(a) of CFP Board's Disciplinary Rules and Procedures (Disciplinary Rules). In accordance with Article 4.4 of the Disciplinary Rules, the Commission revoked Mr. Wilkinson's right to use the CFP® certification marks. Mr. Wilkinson's revocation is effective as of January 5, 2014.

CONNECTICUT

Noah L. Myers (Lyme): In November 2013, CFP Board issued an order permanently revoking Mr. Myers' right to use the CFP® certification marks. This discipline followed Mr. Myers' failure to file an answer to CFP Board's Complaint within the required time period. CFP Board's Complaint alleged that the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) imposed sanctions against Mr. Myers for: 1) conveying on his Form ADV Part II that he would allocate batched trades fairly and not unduly favor himself or his firm when in practice he allocated profitable trades to himself; and 2) implementing unsuitable investment recommendations to clients.  CFP Board's Complaint alleged that Mr. Myers' conduct violated Rules 101(b), 102, 103(d), 201, 202, 406, 606(a), 607 and 703 of CFP Board's Code of Ethics, Rules 1.4, 2.1, 4.1, 4.4, 4.5, 5.1, and 6.5 of the Rules of Conduct and Practice Standard 500-2, which provided grounds for discipline pursuant to Articles 3(a), 3(b), 3(d) and 3(f) of CFP Board's Disciplinary Rules and Procedures (Disciplinary Rules). In accordance with Article 7.4 of the Disciplinary Rules, the allegations set forth in the Complaint were deemed admitted, and CFP Board issued an Administrative Order of Revocation.  Mr. Myers' revocation is effective as of December 12, 2013.

ILLINOIS

Dan Glick (Orland Park): In November 2013, CFP Board issued an order permanently revoking Mr. Glick's right to use the CFP® certification marks. This discipline followed Mr. Glick's entry into a settlement agreement with CFP Board in which he consented to CFP Board's findings that he forged clients' signatures on letters to a bank in order to gain access to, and misappropriate, their assets. Mr. Glick consented to violations of Rules 1.4, 3.4, 3.5, 3.8, 4.1, 4.4 and 6.5 of CFP Board's Rules of Conduct, providing grounds for discipline pursuant to Article 3(a) and 3(f) of CFP Board's Disciplinary Rules and Procedures (Disciplinary Rules). In accordance with Article 4.4 of the Disciplinary Rules, CFP Board issued an Order of Revocation. Mr. Glick's revocation is effective as of December 9, 2013.

PENNSYLVANIA

Robert C. Wheeling (Lititz): In November 2013, CFP Board issued an order permanently revoking Mr. Wheeling's right to use the CFP® certification marks. This discipline followed Mr. Wheeling's failure to file an answer to CFP Board's Complaint within the required time period. CFP Board's Complaint alleged that he was the subject of a Federal Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent in which he was fined $5,000 and suspended from association with any FINRA member in any capacity for four months.  FINRA determined that Mr. Wheeling sold equity indexed annuities, outside the scope of his employment, to 24 clients without obtaining approval from his firm.  Mr. Wheeling also failed to timely report the FINRA suspension to CFP Board.  CFP Board's Complaint alleged that Mr. Wheeling's conduct violated Rules 1.4, 4.4, 5.1, 6.1 and 6.5 of CFP Board's Rules of Conduct, providing grounds for discipline under Articles 3(a) and 3(d) of CFP Board's Disciplinary Rules and Procedures (Disciplinary Rules). In accordance with Article 7.4 of the Disciplinary Rules, the allegations set forth in the Complaint were deemed admitted, and CFP Board issued an Administrative Order of Revocation. Mr. Wheeling's revocation is effective as of December 12, 2013.

ABOUT CFP BOARD

The mission of Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. is to benefit the public by granting the CFP® certification and upholding it as the recognized standard of excellence for competent and ethical personal financial planning. The Board of Directors, in furthering CFP Board's mission, acts on behalf of the public, CFP® professionals and other stakeholders. CFP Board owns the certification marks CFP®, Certified Financial Planner™, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.  CFP Board currently authorizes more than 69,000 individuals to use these marks in the U.S.

SOURCE Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc.



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