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Certification Updates

CFP Board Censures Improper CFP® Certificant Conduct

Jul 07, 2004
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. today announced public disciplinary actions against the following individuals' rights to use the CFP® certification marks, effective immediately.

STATE NAME LOCATION DISCIPLINE
California Libbie Agran Santa Monica Letter of Admonition
Edward A. Maxfield Desert Hot Springs Suspension
Colorado Chad A. Carpenter Denver Interim Suspension
Florida Robert Gutner Boynton Beach Revocation
Georgia Austin C. Cogswell Atlanta Suspension
Oregon Robert E. Morris Hillsboro Letter of Admonition
Vermont Robert J. Hudson Essex Junction Suspension


Public disciplinary actions taken by CFP Board, in order of decreasing severity, include permanent revocation, suspension and letters of admonition.

Under terms of the revocation, Robert Gutner no longer has the right to use the CFP® marks. Austin C. Cogswell's and Edward A. Maxfield's right to use the CFP® marks was suspended for two years, and Robert J. Hudson's right to use the CFP® marks was suspended for three months. CFP Board issued Libbie Agran and Robert E. Morris letters of admonition.

CFP Board issued Chad A. Carpenter an interim suspension, prohibiting him from using the CFP® certification marks, effective immediately.

These disciplinary actions were taken by the Board of Professional Review, a board of CFP® certificants that interprets and applies CFP Board's Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility and Financial Planning Practice Standards as well as investigates, deliberates and takes appropriate action with respect to alleged violations of the Code of Ethics or Practice Standards by CFP® certificants. The basis for each decision can be found in the attached report. Consumers can check on a planner's disciplinary history and certification status with CFP Board at www.CFP.net/search.

The interim suspension is not the same as the final discipline that may or may not be imposed. A person who has had his or her rights to use the CFP® certification marks temporarily suspended is still subject to the full range of disciplinary options available to CFP Board, which can include permanent revocation.

CFP Board can temporarily suspend an individual's right to use the CFP marks when it appears that the individual has (1) been convicted of a serious crime, (2) been the subject of a suspension by any governmental or industry self-regulatory authority, (3) taken property or funds not his or her own for personal use, or (4) engaged in conduct that poses an immediate threat to the public, pending resolution of the underlying disciplinary case. Before an interim suspension is issued, the individual has the opportunity to show by a preponderance of evidence that he or she does not pose an immediate threat to the public and that the gravity of the nature of his or her conduct does not impinge on the stature and reputation of the CFP marks.

CFP Board, a nonprofit regulatory organization, fosters professional standards in personal financial planning so that the public values, has access to and benefits from competent and ethical financial planning. CFP Board owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and federally registered CFP (with flame logo). These marks are awarded to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements. CFP Board currently authorizes more than 44,000 individuals to use these marks in the United States. For more about CFP Board, visit www.CFP.net.

DISCIPLINARY ACTION REPORT
July 2004

Revocation of Right to Use CFP Certification Marks

FLORIDA

Robert Gutner (Boynton Beach): In March 2004, CFP Board permanently revoked Mr. Gutner's right to use the CFP marks after he failed to file an answer to CFP Board's complaint investigating its discovery of: 1) a customer complaint filed with Mr. Gutner's broker/dealer claiming damages of $130,000 and generally alleging that Mr. Gutner sold his client unsuitable investments; and 2) a second customer complaint filed with Mr. Gutner's broker/dealer claiming damages of $500,000 and generally alleging that Mr. Gutner sold his client unsuitable investments and made misrepresentations with regard to those investments. Because Mr. Gutner failed to file an answer to CFP Board's complaint, the allegations in the complaint were deemed admitted and an order of revocation was issued.

Interim Suspension

COLORADO

Chad A. Carpenter (Denver): In June 2004, CFP Board issued an order of interim suspension to Mr. Carpenter with respect to his guilty plea to criminal felony charges of unauthorized use of a financial transaction device (credit card fraud), for which he received a one-year deferred sentence and was ordered to pay restitution. Allegations were that, without the card holder's knowledge or consent, Mr. Carpenter used the credit card number of an individual to make personal purchases over the Internet of more than $500 and less than $15,000. Due to the nature of the matter and the related media publicity, in April 2004, CFP Board issued Mr. Carpenter an order to show cause requiring him to provide evidence why his right to use the CFP marks should not be suspended during CFP Board's investigation. After a hearing, the Board of Professional Review determined that Mr. Carpenter failed to provide sufficient evidence that his right to use the CFP marks should not be suspended, and accordingly, Mr. Carpenter's right to use the CFP marks is immediately suspended until further notice.

Suspensions

CALIFORNIA

Edward A. Maxfield (Desert Hot Springs): In March 2004, CFP Board suspended Mr. Maxfield's right to use the CFP certification marks for two years after its investigation of a letter of acceptance, waiver and consent (AWC) into which he entered with the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) and in which he consented to the entry of findings that he offered for sale and sold to public customers securities that were not properly registered nor exempt from registration. Pursuant to the AWC, Mr. Maxfield was fined $15,000, ordered to pay more than $55,000 in financial benefits to customers and suspended from association with any NASD member for one year. Mr. Maxfield failed to notify CFP Board of his professional suspension within 10 days, as required. CFP Board also found that Mr. Maxfield was the subject of a desist and refrain order by the California Department of Corporations, ordering him to desist and refrain from acting as an unlicensed broker/dealer and from offering and selling unqualified securities. Mr. Maxfield failed to disclose the order on the applicable renewal form, as required.

GEORGIA

Austin C. Cogswell (Atlanta): In March 2004, CFP Board suspended Mr. Cogswell's right to use the CFP marks for two years after it found that: 1) the State of Georgia revoked his securities salesman registration after it deemed he sold promissory notes, which it deemed to be unregistered non-exempt securities; 2) Mr. Cogswell failed to adequately disclose his outside business activities to his broker/dealer and as a result was discharged from his employment therewith; 3) Mr. Cogswell was barred from association with any National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) member in any capacity when he consented to findings that he violated NASD Regulation Inc. Conduct Rules 2110, 3030 and 3040 with respect to his outside business activities and his failure to properly disclose to and/or get approval from his broker/dealer; 4) California determined that promissory notes Mr. Cogswell sold were securities that were not properly registered for sale in California and issued Mr. Cogswell a cease and desist order; 5) Mr. Cogswell failed to disclose one of the state securities commission proceedings, the NASD proceeding and a civil suit to CFP Board as required; and 6) Mr. Cogswell failed to disclose his professional suspension and bar to CFP Board within 10 days as required by Article 12.2 of the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures.

VERMONT

Robert J. Hudson (Essex Junction): In March 2004, CFP Board accepted Mr. Hudson's offer of settlement wherein he admitted to violating CFP Board's Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility and agreed to a three-month suspension of his right to use the CFP certification marks, after its investigation of a grievance and a civil lawsuit related to his sale of charitable gift annuities, without prior written approval from his broker/dealer; his entry into three consent orders with the Vermont Securities Division related to the sale of the charitable gift annuities, which resulted in the suspension of his securities and insurance licenses for three months; and his entry into a letter of acceptance, waiver and consent with the National Association of Securities Dealers, wherein he consented to a five-month suspension. Mr. Hudson's CFP Board suspension was in effect from April 9, 2004, through July 9, 2004. He successfully met CFP Board reinstatement requirements and his certification was reinstated effective July 10, 2004.

Public Letters of Admonition

CALIFORNIA

Libbie Agran (Santa Monica): In March 2004, CFP Board accepted Ms. Agran's offer of settlement, wherein she admitted to violating CFP Board's Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility and consented to the issuance of a public letter of admonition. Pursuant to the settlement offer, Ms. Agran acknowledged that the investment contract she entered into with a client did not clearly state the nature and the scope of services to be provided.

OREGON

Robert E. Morris (Hillsboro): In March 2004, CFP Board issued Mr. Morris a public letter of admonition after a hearing and determining that Mr. Morris was found to have violated his broker/dealer's policies, that Mr. Morris entered into a letter of acceptance, waiver and consent with the National Association of Securities Dealers in which he consented to findings that he purchased five different common stocks during the companies' IPOs, and was censured and fined. CFP Board also found that Mr. Morris entered into a settlement agreement with a client in which his firm acknowledged liability and responsibility for investment and trading losses in the client's account.

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