CFP Board’s mission 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. As part of that mission, we require all CFP® professionals to live by a set of ethical principles, rules and standards in order to use the CFP® certification. We make every effort to ensure that CFP® professionals comply with the principles, rules and standards known as the Standards of Professional Conduct. To achieve that goal we have set up investigative and complaint procedures that allow us to thoroughly review your complaint. After we have finished our investigation, we will contact you and let you know if we have issued a public sanction to the CFP® professional who was the subject of your complaint.
If CFP Board determines that there is probable cause to believe ethical violations have occurred, it will refer the matter to a body of industry professionals to review your complaint. That body, the Disciplinary and Ethics Commission, determines whether allegations are justified and whether the unethical conduct warrants disciplinary action. There is no cost to you.
Because one of the functions of CFP Board is the evaluation of complaints against CFP® professionals, please be assured that your complaint will be investigated vigorously and impartially.
A charge against the conduct, actions or recommendations of a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional is a matter that CFP Board takes seriously. Accordingly, if you feel that CFP Board’s Standards of Professional Conduct have been violated, you should not hesitate to begin the complaint procedure against a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional.
You must carefully consider your complaint before filing, as it may negatively affect a CFP® professional’s career, reputation and ability to earn a living. Thus, it takes more than a claim of misconduct to justify disciplinary action. You must provide CFP Board with proof of the misconduct.
Your complaint should relate to unethical conduct – a violation of CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility, Rules of Conduct or Financial Planning Standards – that you can prove. An honest disagreement about how a matter should or should not have been handled would not normally constitute unethical conduct. An error in judgment is not necessarily unethical conduct. CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals, as any other professionals, may not always give the perfect response to a given set of circumstances. For instance, disagreements about fees do not necessarily constitute unethical conduct. Unexpected declines in security values or the length of time it may take to respond to a client with a completed plan do not necessarily constitute unethical conduct.
Reports of misconduct can be submitted to CFP Board online or by U.S. mail.
Online: Submit a complaint online
Mail: Open, print and complete the printable complaint form (PDF, 24KB). Mail the completed form to:
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc.
ATTN: Professional Standards Department
1425 K Street NW #500
Washington, DC 20005
Your written complaint should include important information surrounding the circumstances of your complaint, including photocopies of relevant letters, contracts, agreements or other documents, which should be accompanied with the grievance form. CFP Board staff will request additional information if needed and may request a personal interview if it appears necessary.
CFP Board will accept an anonymous complaint. It is often the case, however, that preserving a complainant's anonymity may result in CFP Board not being able to conduct a full investigation.
If CFP Board deems that there are sufficient grounds to initiate an investigation, the CFP® professional who is the subject of the complaint will be sent a copy of the complaint and given the opportunity to respond. CFP Board may share details of the investigation with other state and federal regulatory bodies, including but not limited to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Please be aware that there may be normal remedies under state and federal laws and regulations with applicable regulatory bodies and also avail themselves of other avenues, and it is your responsibility to pursue such remedies. The findings and actions of appropriate regulatory bodies will be given due consideration by the Disciplinary and Ethics Commission.