Attorney Joseph D. Lento Provides CFP Board Certification Defense for Financial Planners
If you are a licensed financial planner or Certified Financial Planner (CFP), who is being investigated by the state licensing board, having an experienced license defense attorney on your side is critical to obtaining a favorable outcome. All it may take is a single complaint to put your entire career at risk. Attorney Joseph D. Lento helps licensed professionals in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York who are accused of misconduct. Contact the Lento Law Firm at (888) 535-3686 today to schedule a consultation.
You've invested a lot of time and money in educating yourself and qualifying to become a financial planner. At the same time, being a licensed planner or CFP is a position of high public trust, and both your state licensing board and the Security and Exchange Commission hold these financial professionals to exceptionally high standards of ethics and professional excellence. Allegations of wrongdoing are taken seriously, and licensing boards have broad powers to impose disciplinary action with a minimum burden of proof. A single complaint can cost you your license and/or certification. That's why having a securities and CFP board attorney in your corner is so important when your license comes under scrutiny.
Attorney Joseph D. Lento and the team of the Lento Law Firm have helped many licensed professionals like you who are facing potential disciplinary action over allegations of misconduct. They will work to minimize the damage to your license and/or certification and can quite possibly rescue your career.
What types of offenses could cost me my license or certification?
Because financial planners hold fiduciary responsibilities on behalf of their clients, they are held to high standards of honesty, professionalism, and trust. Most allegations that could threaten your license will have something to do with violating this trust. Common examples include:
- Negligence and/or breach of fiduciary duty. If you are accused of mishandling client funds, making unsuitable investment recommendations, making unauthorized trades, or otherwise failing to protect client investments, you could lose your license.
- Theft or fraud. If you are accused of taking illegal kickbacks from third parties, engaging in insider trading, or committing other forms of fraud, this will almost certainly result in an investigation by your state licensing board.
- Violating SEC rules. Financial planners who are accused of violating SEC rules and regulations can easily lose their license and/or CFP certification.
- Criminal convictions. A criminal conviction, even for a non-financial crime, can often result in the loss of your financial planner license or CFP certification.
If someone files a complaint against my financial planner license, what happens next?
Once a complaint is filed, the licensing board will first review it to determine if it falls within their jurisdiction. If it does, they will open an inquiry. The board may ask you to respond to the complaint in writing and provide any corroborating evidence. The board may also appoint an investigator to review documents, interview witnesses, and gather evidence.
If there is enough evidence to support the complaint, the board may attempt to reach an agreement with you via consent order as an alternative to a formal hearing. In this case, you will have to admit to your wrongdoings and accept the punishment suggested by the board. In the absence of a consent order, you will be summoned for a formal hearing in which you may show cause why the board should not take action against your license. When the hearing concludes, the board makes its final determination as to whether to impose penalties on you--up to and including revoking your license or certification.
Even if you are allowed to keep your financial planner license, and you are punished with a lower penalty like probation or fines, any disciplinary action against your license could still damage your professional reputation as it will be public record. Hiring a CFP board investigation and disciplinary actions attorney can reduce the risk of damage. Attorney Joseph D. Lento knows how the disciplinary process works and can intervene to minimize the damage to your license and your professional reputation.
Why do I need to hire an attorney?
As soon as a complaint is filed against you, you are effectively placed on the defensive. The licensing board will actively begin looking for evidence to back the complaint--including, in some cases, anything you say or do in response to it--because, unlike a criminal trial, they are not obligated to presume you are innocent until proven guilty. An attorney who is experienced in CFP board certification defense can help level the playing field, make sure your side is heard, and make sure your rights are protected.
Joseph D. Lento has the knowledge and experience you need. His efforts can make a huge difference in your case and improve your chances of retaining your financial planner or CFP license. The Lento Law Firm will
- Evaluate the facts of your case and develop an appropriate defense strategy.
- Take on the role of your official legal representative in all correspondence with the board.
- Prepare a persuasive response to the complaint in writing (which could be enough to dismiss the complaint).
- Gather evidence and witnesses to corroborate your side of the story.
- Negotiate with the licensing board at multiple points to have the complaint dismissed, work for lenient penalties, etc.
- Defend you vigorously in a formal hearing if one is called.
Should I hire an attorney as soon as I am notified of a complaint?
Yes. If you have been notified that there is a complaint against your financial planner license, you should not wait until being summoned to a hearing to call an attorney. This gives the board time to make their case and leaves your attorney scrambling to make yours. Instead, call an experienced CFP board investigation and disciplinary actions attorney as soon as you are notified of the complaint. An attorney representing you early in the process will give you a better chance of resolving the matter favorably without the need for a hearing.
You've worked too hard to establish your financial planner/CFP career to have it jeopardized by allegations of wrongdoing. Contact the Lento Law Firm today at (888) 535-3686 for a case evaluation.