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Press Release

CFP Board Imposes Automatic Interim Suspensions

April 14, 2020

Automatic interim suspensions relate to three current CFP® professionals

 

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) announced today automatic interim suspensions against the following individuals, effective on the date noted in each case.

 
Pursuant to Article 5.7 of CFP Board’s Disciplinary Rules and Procedures (Disciplinary Rules), an interim suspension shall immediately be issued without a hearing when CFP Board Counsel receives evidence of a conviction or professional discipline in accordance with Article 13.1 for a felony conviction for any crime or revocation of a financial professional license. Article 13.1 also provides that a certificate from the clerk of the court of criminal jurisdiction indicating that a respondent has been convicted of a crime in that court or 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.

 

This release contains information about the imposition of recent automatic interim suspensions relating to three current CFP® professionals.

 

The basis for each decision can be found in a Disciplinary Action Report below and on CFP Board’s website. The public can 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 Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct (Code and Standards).  The Code and Standards sets 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.

While CFP Board has attempted to capture the details relevant to each decision, the summary nature of these releases may omit certain details affecting each decision.

 

STATE

NAME

LOCATION

DISCIPLINE

California

Michael J. Altobell

Roseville

Automatic Interim Suspension

Massachusetts

Gerald A. Eaton

Acton

Automatic Interim Suspension

California

Richard LaBare

Rancho Mirage

Automatic Interim Suspension

 

AUTOMATIC INTERIM SUSPENSION

 

CALIFORNIA

 

Michael J. Altobell (Roseville): On March 31, 2020, CFP Board imposed an automatic interim suspension temporarily suspending Michael J. Altobell’s right to use the CFP® certification marks.  CFP Board imposed an automatic interim suspension after receiving evidence that the Department of Business Oversight of the State of California issued an Order barring Mr. Altobell from any position of employment, management or control of any investment adviser, broker-dealer or commodity adviser in the State of California.  The Commissioner of Business Oversight of the State of California’s investigation found that Mr. Altobell, through Paragon Portfolio Management, LLC (Paragon) (a California registered investment adviser of which he was the managing member and 100 percent owner), willfully violated California Corporations Code by: (1) accessing client accounts using the clients’ personal usernames and passwords without their authorization; (2) mismanaging clients’ accounts and recommending unsuitable investments to senior clients in breach of his fiduciary duties and resulting in large losses; and (3) engaging in unlawful market manipulation by trading penny stocks in clients’ accounts.  The Commissioner of Business Oversight of the State of California determined that Mr. Altobell violated California Corporations Code sections 25235, 25238, 25400 and 25404, and California Code of Regulations (CCR), title 10, sections 260.237 and 260.238.  The Commissioner of Business Oversight of the State of California imposed a bar from any position of employment, management or control of any investment adviser, broker-dealer or commodity adviser in the State of California and revoked Paragon’s investment adviser certificate. Under the automatic interim suspension order, Mr. Altobell’s right to use the CFP® certification marks is suspended pending CFP Board’s completed investigation and possible further disciplinary proceedings.

 

Richard LaBare (Rancho Mirage): On March 23, 2020, CFP Board imposed an automatic interim suspension temporarily suspending Richard LaBare’s right to use the CFP® certification marks.  CFP Board imposed an automatic interim suspension after receiving evidence that, on June 11, 2019, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) issued an Order permanently barring Mr. LaBare from associating with any FINRA member in all capacities pursuant to FINRA Rule 9552(h), based on its finding that Mr. LaBare “failed to respond to FINRA request[s] for information” in an investigation.  Under the automatic interim suspension order, Mr. LaBare’s right to use the CFP® certification marks is suspended pending CFP Board’s completed investigation and possible further disciplinary proceedings.

 

MASSACHUSETTS

 

Gerald A. Eaton (Acton): On February 14, 2020, CFP Board imposed an automatic interim suspension temporarily suspending Gerald A. Eaton’s right to use the CFP® certification marks.  CFP Board imposed an automatic interim suspension after receiving evidence that Mr. Eaton entered into a Letter of Acceptance, Waiver and Consent (AWC) with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (FINRA) on November 20, 2019, wherein FINRA made findings of FINRA rule violations and barred him from associating with any FINRA member in any capacity after he failed to produce information or documents to FINRA in response to its written requests.  The FINRA requests sought information and documents regarding Mr. Eaton’s alleged fraudulent facilitation of distributions from the accounts of clients without their knowledge or consent or for their benefit.  FINRA determined that Mr. Eaton’s conduct violated FINRA Rules 8210 and 2010.  Under the automatic interim suspension order, Mr. Eaton’s right to use the CFP® certification marks is suspended pending CFP Board’s completed investigation and possible further disciplinary proceedings.

about cfp board

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 86,000 people in the United States.

contact

Karen Grajales
Communications Specialist
202-379-2256
kgrajales@cfpboard.org