The CFP Board has the ability to permanently or temporarily suspend the right of a CFP professional to use the CFP designation after it has found an advisor has violated the board’s standards of conduct. It also can issue a letter of admonition and put information about bankruptcies filed by advisors on its website. Members of the public can ask the board to investigate the actions of a CFP professional and the board will use other avenues to determine violations of the standards.

The CFP Board also updated several documents for consistency with the procedural rules, including the fitness standards for candidates for the CFP certification and for former CFP professionals who are asking for reinstatement to use the CFP mark.

Partially in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the board already approved the use of video or telephone testimony for some investigations.

“This is a particularly important time for CFP professionals as more people are reaching out for financial advice to help them get through the current turmoil,” Keller said. “There are more than 200 certifications or designations that a financial advisor can earn, but only a handful set and enforce standards when advisors are providing financial advice. I have never seen another certification that names those mark holders who have not done right by the public.”

Many of the changes announced Friday seem technical, but they are important to advisors and the public, Keller added.

“When CFP mark holders are surveyed, they consistently say that setting and enforcing standards of conduct are the most important activities for the CFP Board, along with building the brand,” he said.

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