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, CFP Board requires all CFP® professionals to abide by the Standards of Professional Conduct, a set of ethical principles, rules, and standards to be followed as a condition to being able to use the CFP® certification. CFP Board has established certain policies and procedures related to enforcing the Standards of Professional Conduct, which include procedures for investigating allegations against CFP® professionals.
If you believe that a CFP® professional has violated the Standards of Professional Conduct and would like to report the alleged misconduct, you may submit a complaint form to CFP Board’s Professional Standards Department. Please carefully consider your complaint before filing, and be advised that it takes more than a mere disagreement with a CFP® professional or an unsubstantiated claim of misconduct to justify an investigation and potential follow-on disciplinary action. Thus, with any complaint against a CFP® professional, you must provide CFP Board with documents and other evidence to support your claim of unprofessional or unethical conduct.
You can be assured that CFP Board thoroughly reviews all complaints against CFP® professionals. If, at the conclusion of an investigation, CFP Board staff determines that there is probable cause to believe a violation of the Standards of Professional Conduct has occurred, a formal Complaint will be filed and the matter will be referred to the Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (“DEC”), a body of industry professionals who will conduct a hearing on the matter. At the conclusion of the hearing, the DEC will then decide whether discipline is warranted.
Please understand that because CFP Board is strictly a certifying and standards-setting body for those individuals who have met CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements, jurisdiction only extends to the rights of CFP® professionals to use the CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with flame design) and CFP® (with plaque design) certification marks (the “CFP® marks”). Thus, potential sanctions for those who have been found to have violated CFP Board’s Standards of Professional Conduct are limited to the following: (i) private censure; (ii) public letter of admonition; (iii) suspension; and (iv) revocation of the CFP® professional’s right to use the CFP® marks. CFP Board does not have the ability to help you obtain any financial relief. Also, because CFP Board investigations are confidential pursuant to Article 17.1 of the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures, CFP Board staff is unable to provide you with any information regarding what actions we may or may not be taking with respect to the CFP® professional named in your complaint. If a CFP Board investigation results in a hearing where the outcome is a public sanction, then that information will be publicized in a press release and also posted on CFP Board’s website.
CFP Board’s Disciplinary Rules and Procedures provide a fair process pursuant to which CFP® professionals are given notice of potential violations and an opportunity to be heard by a panel of other professionals. Because there is procedural fairness built in to the Disciplinary Rules, investigations can often take a considerable amount of time to complete. Also, CFP® professionals have an opportunity to appeal any decision of the DEC, which can add even more time to the process.
Complaints against CFP® professionals can be submitted to CFP Board online or by U.S. mail, email, or fax.
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 #800
Washington, DC 20005
You may also send via fax to 202-379-2299 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your complaint should include supporting materials such as relevant letters, contracts, agreements, investment account statements, and other documents. CFP Board staff may contact you to request additional information if needed and may request an interview if necessary.
CFP Board will accept an anonymous complaint. However, please note that preserving a complainant's anonymity may result in CFP Board not being able to conduct a full investigation.
If CFP Board staff determines that a complaint contains sufficient grounds to initiate an investigation, the CFP® professional who is the subject of the complaint may be sent a copy of the complaint and given the opportunity to respond. In addition, CFP Board staff may share details of the investigation with other state and federal regulatory bodies, including but not limited to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Please be aware that there may be other remedies available for you to pursue under state and federal laws and regulations with applicable regulatory bodies. CFP Board is unable to provide you with any legal advice and it is your responsibility to pursue any such remedies.