WASHINGTON, DC, April 17, 2009 - Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) announced today that it has issued a public letter of admonition to Gregory K. Bowser, CFP® of Abingdon, MD, for violating CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility.
CFP Board’s Standards of Professional Conduct, which includes the Code of Ethics and the Financial Planning Practice Standards, set forth the ethical standards for financial planners who hold the CFP® certification. 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 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 necessary.
The public letter of admonition was issued to Mr. Bowser following an appeal of a July 2008 decision by the Disciplinary and Ethics Commission. The Commission’s original decision followed an investigation related to a 2007 Consent Order Mr. Bowser entered into with the Maryland Securities Division. The Commission found that: In his capacity as chairman of a charitable organization, Mr. Bowser accepted a donation from a client, who subsequently made a loan to this charity and executed a promissory note. Approximately a year later, another client made a loan to a business with which Mr. Bowser was affiliated; and Mr. Bowser violated the terms of a 2001 Consent Order issued by Maryland by continuing to sell unregistered securities (promissory notes, which Maryland found to be unregistered securities) and continuing to accept loans from clients.
The Commission found that Mr. Bowser’s conduct violated Rules 201, 606(a), 606(b), and 607 of CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility (“Code of Ethics”). Accordingly, the Commission admonished Mr. Bowser publicly with regard to the conduct. The Commission also reminded Mr. Bowser that by holding the CFP® certification, he is subject to CFP Board’s Code of Ethics at all times, including when conducting investment advisory, financial planning and brokerage services. The Commission also reminded Mr. Bowser to be aware of potential conflicts of interest when dealing with clients. The Commission ordered Mr. Bowser to take an additional three hours of continuing education in ethics within six months. Mr. Bowser appealed decision, which was affirmed by CFP Board’s Appeals Committee.
Because no federal agency currently regulates financial planners on their specific financial planning activity, CFP Board’s enforcement process is a critical consumer protection. CFP® practitioners agree to abide by CFP Board’s Code of Ethics, which sets forth their ethical responsibilities to the public, clients and employers. Through the Code of Ethics, CFP® practitioners agree to act fairly and diligently when providing clients with financial planning advice and services, putting the clients’ interests first. Consumers may check on a planner's disciplinary history and certification status with CFP Board at www.CFP.net.
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 personal financial planning. The Board of Directors, in furthering CFP Board’s mission, acts on behalf of the public, CFP® certificants and other stakeholders. CFP Board owns the certification marks: CFP®; CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™; and the federally registered 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 59,000 individuals to use these marks in the U.S.
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CFP® - The Recognized Standard of Excellence in Personal Financial Planning
Michael P. Shaw, Managing Director, Professional Review and Legal