CFP Board Vacates Interim Suspension Previously Imposed on Joseph M. Whitney, CFP® of Rochester, New York
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) announced that it has vacated a previously issued interim suspension of the CFP® certification against Joseph M. Whitney, CFP®, formerly of Mahwah, New Jersey, and now residing in Rochester, New York.
On March 2, 2021, upon discovery that Mr. Whitney had been charged by the State of New Jersey with felony Conspiracy, CFP Board Counsel filed a Motion for Interim Suspension Order (Motion) pursuant to Article 2.1.a.1 of CFP Board’s Procedural Rules requesting that the Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (DEC) issue an Interim Suspension Order against Mr. Whitney. The Commission granted CFP Board Counsel’s Motion and issued an Interim Suspension Order against Mr. Whitney on March 23, 2021. Since that time, CFP Board Counsel confirmed that all charges against Mr. Whitney in the referenced criminal prosecution were dismissed as of March 8, 2022. Accordingly, on August 8, 2022, pursuant to Article 2.4.a of the Procedural Rules, CFP Board Counsel issued an Order to Vacate the Interim Suspension Order.
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, CFP Board’s Appeals Commission, issues a final order. CFP Board Counsel may vacate an Interim Suspension Order if a criminal conviction, civil liability or professional discipline is vacated or reversed or if Respondent provides sufficient evidence indicating that Respondent was not the subject of a criminal conviction, civil liability or professional discipline. 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.
If CFP Board Counsel delivers, or a Hearing Panel issues, an order vacating an Interim Suspension Order, CFP Board must not reflect the Interim Suspension Order in CFP Board’s public verification of Respondent’s CFP® certification and background. In addition, CFP Board Counsel will deliver the order to Respondent and notify Respondent of the opportunity to file a written request for CFP Board to (1) remove the publication of the Interim Suspension Order from CFP Board’s website and/or (2) publish in a press release and on CFP Board’s website the fact that CFP Board vacated the Interim Suspension Order and some or all of the facts that are relevant to the order vacating the Interim Suspension Order. If CFP Board Counsel delivers, or a Hearing Panel issues, an order vacating an Interim Suspension Order, then upon the written request of Respondent, CFP Board must remove the publication and/or publish the press release.
CFP Board retains the authority to deliver to Respondent a Complaint based on the same or other factual allegations.
The basis for CFP Board disciplinary decisions may be found on CFP Board’s website at CFP.net/verify. At that website, CFP Board provides the public with:
- The ability to check on any individual’s CFP Board disciplinary history and CFP® certification status.
- 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. This 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).
- Links to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc.’s (FINRA’s) BrokerCheck and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC’s) Investment Adviser Public Disclosure databases for individuals who are subject to FINRA or SEC oversight.
CFP Board’s Enforcement Process
As part of their certification, CFP® professionals make a commitment to CFP Board to abide by 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 set forth the process for investigating matters and imposing sanctions where violations have been found.
CFP Board 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 DEC. The DEC 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 DEC 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 DEC determines there are grounds for sanction, then it may impose a sanction. DEC orders may be appealed by a CFP® professional or CFP Board pursuant to the Procedural Rules.
In certain circumstances, such as when a CFP® professional is in default due to failure to acknowledge receipt of a Notice of Investigation or file an Answer, CFP Board staff must deliver an Administrative Order of Suspension, Temporary Bar, Revocation or Permanent Bar. Administrative Orders also are subject to appeal.
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 the public, advisors and firms as the standard for financial planning, CFP® certification is held by more than 93,000 people in the United States.
Director of Public Relations