CFP Board Imposes Interim Suspension on James Iannazzo of Southport, Connecticut
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) announced that it has imposed an interim suspension of the CFP® certification against James Iannazzo, which was effective on February 7, 2022.
On February 7, 2022, CFP Board’s Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (“Commission”) issued James Iannazzo of Southport, Connecticut an interim suspension of his right to use the CFP® certification marks. CFP Board staff became aware of an incident in which Mr. Iannazzo verbally and physically abused certain employees of a smoothie shop, one of whom was reportedly a minor, near his home on January 22, 2022, which was captured on video and widely publicized through media and social media outlets. Mr. Iannazzo was arrested and charged with three crimes, including Intimidation Based on Bigotry or Bias in the Second Degree, a felony. Based on these facts, on January 25, 2022, CFP Board Counsel filed a Motion for Interim Suspension Order pursuant to Article 2.1.a.1. of CFP Board’s Procedural Rules requesting that the Commission issue an Interim Suspension Order against Mr. Iannazzo. After reviewing the matter, a Hearing Panel of the Commission determined that CFP Board Counsel demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence that Mr. Iannazzo’s conduct significantly impinges upon the reputation of the profession and the CFP® certification marks. Therefore, the Commission issued an Interim Suspension Order to Mr. Iannazzo. Pursuant to the Interim Suspension Order, Mr. Iannazzo’s right to use the CFP® certification marks is suspended pending CFP Board's completed investigation and possible further disciplinary proceedings, effective immediately.
An interim suspension is a suspension of a CFP® professional’s Certification and Trademark License during the pendency of proceedings. A Respondent subject to an Interim Suspension Order must not use the CFP® certification marks or state or suggest that Respondent is a CFP® professional while the Interim Suspension Order is in effect. An Interim Suspension Order is a temporary sanction and does not preclude CFP Board from imposing a final sanction. An Interim Suspension Order will remain in place until the DEC or, if an appeal is filed, the Code and Standards Enforcement Committee (or CFP Board’s Appeals Commission for appeals filed on or after February 21, 2022), issues a final order. CFP Board may vacate an Interim Suspension Order if a Criminal Conviction is vacated or reversed or if Respondent provides sufficient evidence indicating that Respondent was not the subject of a Criminal Conviction. A Hearing Panel of the DEC may issue an Order to vacate an Interim Suspension Order upon a successful Petition to Vacate an Interim Suspension Order by Respondent.
The basis for this decision also may be found on CFP Board’s website at CFP.net/verify. At that website, the public may check on any individual’s CFP Board disciplinary history and CFP® certification status. The website also provides links to other sources of information about CFP® professionals that may be more recent or that may contain information that has not led to CFP Board discipline and does not appear on CFP Board’s website. That information may include customer disputes, disciplinary actions taken by a regulator or employer, certain criminal matters, and certain financial matters (such as bankruptcy proceedings and unpaid judgments or liens). For those who are subject to Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) or U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) oversight, the website includes links to FINRA’s BrokerCheck and the SEC’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosure databases.
CFP Board’s Enforcement Process
As part of their certification, CFP® professionals make a commitment to CFP Board to uphold CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct (Code and Standards, or its predecessor, the Standards of Professional Conduct (Standards), which included the Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility, Rules of Conduct and Financial Planning Practice Standards. CFP Board’s Procedural Rules outline a peer-review, enforcement process for investigating matters and imposing sanctions where violations have been found.
CFP Board has a defined process for handling allegations of misconduct in violation of the Code and Standards or its predecessor Standards. It enforces its ethical standards by investigating alleged violations and, where there is probable cause to believe there are grounds for sanction, presents a Complaint containing the alleged violations to CFP Board’s Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission). The Commission meets at least six times a year to review any matter in which CFP Board has alleged that a CFP® professional has violated the Code and Standards, or its predecessor Standards. The Commission functions in accordance with the Procedural Rules and reviews all matters on a case-by-case basis, considering the details specific to an individual case.
If the Commission determines there are grounds for sanction, then it may impose a private or public sanction, depending on the seriousness of the matter. More information on CFP Board’s enforcement process can be found at CFP.net/ethics/enforcement.
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 as the standard for financial planning, CFP® certification is held by more than 93,000 people in the United States.
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