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Press Release

CFP Board Censures Improper CFP® Professional Conduct

April 14, 2016

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 10 current or former CFP® professionals. Of these actions, there were 6 letters of admonition, 2 suspensions, 1 revocation and 1 administrative revocation.


The basis for each decision can be found in a Disciplinary Action Report below and on CFP Board’s website. 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.

CFP Board enforces its ethical standards by investigating incidents of alleged unethical behavior by CFP® professionals. In cases where violations are found, the Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) 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. CFP Board’s Disciplinary Rules and Procedures (Disciplinary Rules) set forth the process for investigating matters and imposing discipline where violations have been found.

The Commission meets at least 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 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

California

Harold S. Kern, CFP®

San Jose

Letter of Admonition

Florida

Aaron R. Parthemer

Fort Lauderdale

Revocation

Georgia

Allen L. Mitchell

Decatur

Administrative Revocation

Michigan

Sean E. Mattson, CFP®

South Lyon

Letter of Admonition

Missouri

D. Robin Walker

Verona

Suspension

Pennsylvania

Deborah S. Giffin, CFP®

McMurray

Letter of Admonition

Pennsylvania

James P. O’Mara

York

Suspension

Utah

Gary L. Barker, CFP®

Salt Lake City

Letter of Admonition

Virginia

Roxanne K. Villarreal, CFP®

Reston

Letter of Admonition

Washington

Kevin R. Bonner, CFP®

Burien

Letter of Admonition


PUBLIC LETTERS OF ADMONITION

CALIFORNIA

Harold S. Kern, CFP® (San Jose)
: In December 2015, CFP Board’s Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) accepted an offer of settlement wherein Mr. Kern received a Public Letter of Admonition and six hours of remedial education, with four hours in General Principles of Financial Planning and two hours in Professional Conduct and Fiduciary Responsibility. In the offer of settlement, Mr. Kern consented to CFP Board’s findings that he filed for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in 1995 and again in 2015, which reflected adversely on his integrity and fitness as a CFP® professional, upon the CFP® marks and upon the profession. CFP Board determined that Mr. Kern’s conduct violated Rule 607 of CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and 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. Accordingly, the Commission admonished Mr. Kern with regard to the above-mentioned conduct.

MICHIGAN

Sean E. Mattson, CFP® (South Lyon): In December 2015, CFP Board’s Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) ordered that a Public Letter of Admonition be issued to Mr. Mattson. This discipline followed the Commission’s findings that Mr. Mattson provided financial planning services to seven clients for which he directly received over $6,000 in fees without disclosing to his firm the provision of financial planning services or his receipt of fees associated with those services.  As a result of his conduct, Mr. Mattson’s firm terminated his employment and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. suspended Mr. Mattson for one month.  Mr. Mattson also falsely reported to CFP Board that he had never received a professional suspension or been terminated for cause.  The Commission determined that Mr. Mattson’s conduct violated Rules 5.1, 6.1 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. Accordingly, the Commission admonished Mr. Mattson with regard to the above-mentioned conduct.

PENNSYLVANIA

Deborah S. Giffin, CFP® (McMurray)
: In November 2015, CFP Board’s Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) accepted an offer of settlement pursuant to which Ms. Giffin received a Public Letter of Admonition. In the offer of settlement, Ms. Giffin consented to CFP Board’s findings that she conducted most of her insurance business and received most of her commissions from her insurance business outside of her firm without disclosing to, and obtaining approval from, her firm for outside business activities.  The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. suspended Ms. Giffin for 45 days and imposed a $5,000 fine. CFP Board determined that Ms. Giffin’s conduct violated Rules 4.3, 5.1 and 6.5 of CFP Board’s Rules of Conduct, providing grounds for discipline pursuant to Articles 3(a) and 3(e) of CFP Board’s Disciplinary Rules and Procedures. Accordingly, the Commission admonished Ms. Giffin with regard to the above-mentioned conduct.

UTAH

Gary L. Barker, CFP® (Salt Lake City): In December 2015, CFP Board’s Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) ordered that a Public Letter of Admonition be issued to Mr. Barker. This discipline followed the Commission’s findings that Mr. Barker recommended and sold a 70-year old client a real estate private placement fund, which concentrated 90 percent of the client’s assets in real estate, that was illiquid when the client had few liquid assets and was a high risk investment that was inconsistent with the client’s financial situation, needs and investment objectives.  The Commission also determined that Mr. Barker violated the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. rules and his firm’s compliance manual when he failed to register a branch office as an office conducting securities business. The Commission determined that Mr. Barker’s conduct violated Rules 201 and 606(a) of CFP Board’s Code of Conduct and Rules 4.3 and 5.1 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. Barker with regard to the above-mentioned conduct.

VIRGINIA


Roxanne K. Villarreal, CFP® (Reston)
: In December 2015, CFP Board’s Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) ordered that a Public Letter of Admonition be issued to Ms. Villarreal. This discipline followed the Commission’s findings that Ms. Villarreal was convicted of three alcohol-related misdemeanor offenses: Driving While Intoxicated in 2012, Driving While Intoxicated in 2015 and Failure to Stop at the Scene of an Accident in 2015.  The Commission determined that Ms. Villarreal’s conduct violated Rule 6.5 of CFP Board’s Rules of Conduct, providing grounds for discipline pursuant to Articles 3(a) and 3(c) of CFP Board’s Disciplinary Rules and Procedures. Accordingly, the Commission admonished Ms. Villarreal with regard to the above-mentioned conduct.

WASHINGTON


Kevin R. Bonner, CFP® (Burien): In December 2015, CFP Board’s Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) ordered that a Public Letter of Admonition be issued to Mr. Bonner. This discipline followed the Commission’s findings that Mr. Bonner took a loan from a client, failed to repay the loan and subsequently discharged the debt in a 2014 Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. Mr. Bonner’s conduct also resulted in an order from the Washington State Board of Accountancy (Board of Accountancy) suspending Mr. Bonner’s individual and firm licenses for two years, imposing $1,250 in fines and costs and requiring 16 hours of continuing education.  The Board of Accountancy stayed Mr. Bonner’s suspension pending his compliance with the Board of Accountancy’s order.  The Commission determined that Mr. Bonner’s conduct violated Rules 201 and 606(a) of CFP Board’s Code of Conduct and Rules 1.4, 3.6, 4.3 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. Bonner with regard to the above-mentioned conduct.


SUSPENSIONS


MISSOURI

D. Robin Walker (Verona)
: In November 2015, CFP Board’s Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) accepted an offer of settlement pursuant to which it issued a one-year suspension to Mr. Walker. In the offer of settlement, Mr. Walker consented to CFP Board’s findings that he developed a proprietary trading model (Model) for exchange traded funds.  Mr. Walker’s firm would not allow him to utilize the Model with institutional clients and would not approve the formation of a registered investment adviser (RIA) owned by Mr. Walker and his partners that would allow Mr. Walker to use the Model with all clients.  Mr. Walker ultimately formed a RIA, which he and his partners owned through nominee owners, to use the Model.  CFP Board determined that Mr. Walker breached his fiduciary duty to clients when he failed to disclose to his client who invested with RIA: 1) material facts concerning the extent of his and his partners’ ability to direct RIA’s management and policies; 2) existing and potential conflicts when advising clients to invest with RIA; and 3) that he and his partners continued to seek approval from their firm to obtain ownership interests in RIA which, if obtained, would entitle them to share in any profits derived from the clients’ payment of advisory fees to RIA.  CFP Board further determined that Mr. Walker violated National Association of Securities Dealers Rules 3030 and 2110 and Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) Rules 3040, 3270 and 2010 when he:  1) participated in outside business activities by establishing, funding and actively participating in the management and control of RIA without adequately disclosing his outside business activities to his firm; 2) participated in private securities transactions by arranging for two third-party investors to acquire ownership interests in RIA from the nominees without disclosing those transactions to his firm; and 3) made inaccurate disclosures on his annual compliance certification questionnaires for 2009 through 2011 by failing to disclose RIA as an outside business activity on the questionnaires.  Based on Mr. Walker’s conduct, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission ordered Mr. Walker to cease and desist from committing or causing any future violations of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940 and ordered him to pay $60,000 in civil penalties.   FINRA suspended Mr. Walker for 18 months and fined him $20,000.  CFP Board determined that Mr. Walker’s conduct violated Rules 1.4, 2.1, 2.2(b), 4.1, 4.3, 4.4 and 5.1 of CFP Board’s Standards of Professional Conduct, providing grounds for discipline pursuant to Articles 3(a) and 3(d) of CFP Board’s Disciplinary Rules and Procedures. Mr. Walker’s suspension is effective from November 25, 2015 until November 25, 2016.

PENNSYLVANIA

James P. O’Mara (York):
In October 2015, CFP Board’s Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) accepted an offer of settlement pursuant to which it issued a 90-day suspension to Mr. O’Mara. In the offer of settlement, Mr. O’Mara consented to CFP Board’s findings that he: 1) held himself out to the public and practiced as a certified public accountant (CPA) while not licensed as a CPA, which resulted in a Pennsylvania Board of Accountancy Consent Order; 2) failed to update his Form U4 to reflect a bankruptcy filing in a timely manner; and 3) failed to report his bankruptcy to his employer, resulting in a Letter of Reprimand and $750 fine. Mr. O’Mara also failed to disclose his bankruptcy filing and Pennsylvania Board of Accountancy investigation on multiple CFP Board renewal applications. CFP Board determined that Mr. O’Mara’ conduct violated Rules 2.1, 4.3, 5.1, 6.2 and 6.5 of CFP Board’s Rules of Conduct, providing grounds for discipline pursuant to Articles 3(a), 3(d) and 3(e) of CFP Board’s Disciplinary Rules and Procedures. Mr. O’Mara’s suspension was effective from October 30, 2015 until January 28, 2016.