CFP Board Imposes Interim Suspension on James Hal Heafner
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) announced that it has imposed an automatic interim suspension of the CFP® certification on James Hal Heafner, currently of Jumacao, Puerto Rico (and formerly of Charlotte, North Carolina), which was effective September 3, 2019.
CFP Board imposed an automatic interim suspension after receiving evidence that Mr. Heafner entered into a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (“AWC”) with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) on July 30, 2019, which barred Mr. Heafner from associating with any FINRA member in any capacity after he refused to produce information requested by FINRA staff pursuant to FINRA Rule 8210. FINRA had requested the information in connection with its investigation of Mr. Heafner’s possible involvement in an outside business activity that was not approved by his former firm.
Pursuant to Article 5.7 of CFP Board’s Disciplinary Rules and Procedures, “[a]n interim suspension shall immediately be issued without a hearing when CFP Board Counsel receives evidence of…a professional discipline in accordance with Article 13.1 for…revocation of a financial professional license.” Article 5.7 also provides that “a letter or other writing from a governmental or industry self-regulatory authority to the effect that a Respondent has been the subject of an order of professional discipline…by such authority, shall conclusively establish the existence of such.”
Under the automatic interim suspension order, Mr. Heafner’s right to use the CFP® certification marks is suspended pending CFP Board’s completed investigation and possible further disciplinary proceedings.
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, Rules of Conduct and Financial Planning 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 violations and, where there is probable cause to believe there are grounds for discipline, presenting a Complaint containing the alleged violations to the CFP Board’s Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) pursuant to CFP Board’s Disciplinary Rules and Procedures (Disciplinary Rules). If the Commission determines there are grounds for discipline, it may impose a sanction 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 set forth the process for investigating matters and imposing discipline where violations have been found.
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. is the professional body for personal financial planners in the U.S. CFP Board sets standards for financial planning and administers the prestigious CFP® certification – one of the most respected certifications in financial services – so that the public has access to and benefits from competent and ethical financial planning. CFP Board, along with its Center for Financial Planning, is committed to increasing the public’s awareness of CFP® certification and access to a diverse, ethical and competent financial planning workforce. Widely recognized by firms and consumer groups as the standard for financial planning, CFP® certification is held by more than 83,000 people in the United States.