The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards has sanctioned 13 current or former certified financial planners for various violations, in one case revoking the license of a planner who angrily told a prospective client that "your reactions tell me why your husband left you.” 

The sanctions include public censures, suspensions, temporary bars, permanent bars and revocations of the right to use the CFP marks, the CFP Board said. Under the board's disciplinary code, permanent bars apply to planners who do not currently hold the CFP mark, while revocations apply to CFP holders.

Five planners were publicly censured, one was temporarily barred, three were suspended, one received a permanent bar, and three had their rights to use the CFP marks revoked, the board said.

David R. Nute of Sequim, Wash., had his license revoked for allegedly failing "to treat fellow professionals and others with dignity, courtesy and respect,” the board said. The case stemmed from a written grievance submitted to the board by a former prospective client who asked if she could drop off copies of documents needed for a potential transaction in person at Nute’s office. She did not want to transmit the documents electronically. Nute, the board said, responded that he would then have to travel to his office himself to pick up the documents and that his time was “too valuable.” The board said the client then sent him an email saying she no longer wanted to work with him. In response, Nute among other things, replied, “It is totally ridiculous to expect me to drive into town and waste a couple hours of $1,000 hourly time,” and “I was only trying to help, and your reactions tell me why your husband left you.”

The board said Nute did not show any remorse during the investigation and “frequently referred to CFP Board counsel in derogatory terms and insulted them in written correspondence and verbally during the hearing … and failed to testify with decorum and blatantly ignored instructions to engage with civility.” The board also said that Nute received multiple negative online reviews from customers detailing similar unprofessional behaviors.

Contacted for a response to the board sanction, Nute did not deny making the statement to the woman, but claimed that the action did not deserve a license revocation.

He called the CFP Board's hearing process unfair and alleged the CFP Board's counsel arbitrarily increased his recommended punishment during the hearing from a censure to a revocation. He also claimed he spent $2,000 on CFP Board fees to defend himself and was shut off at one point from giving testimony.

"This was totally out of line," Nute said. "It was totally unexpected, totally unprecedented. It was very arbitrary."

Nute said that he emailed the derogatory comment to the prospective client because "I was upset" after she failed to go through with an agreed reverse mortgage because he did not want to drive an hour to pick up her documents. He added he did not regret making the statement.

"She was a very irritating lady," he said. "I was just talking to her as a person."

Nute said he has been a CFP mark holder for 29 years.

"These bastards stole something from me based on a totally arbitrary procedure," he said.

The complete list of sanctioned planners is as follows: