The Financial Planning Association is stepping in to try to resolve infighting at the FPA's New York chapter, including charges that chapter leaders engaged in unethical behavior and discriminated against the former New York chapter president, who raised the concerns.

National FPA was asked to step into the situation in March by a number of members of the board of directors of the New York chapter, said David Brand, the national FPA's chief operating officer. Mediation efforts were made but did not succeed in resolving the problems, he said.

Consequently, the FPA appointed Scott Kahan, the former president of FPA New York, as a volunteer leader to oversee the chapter during a transition period, after which it is hoped the organization will again resume an affiliation agreement with the national organization, Brand said.

The controversy began when Devika Kamboh, head of Kamboh Financial Planning in New York City and FPA New York chapter president from January to March, filed a complaint with the N.Y. Attorney General's Office charging that the chapter's executive board members, including Chairperson Anthea Perkinson, used educational events to prospect for new clients, according to a report in Investment News.

As a result of the discord, the national FPA has ended its affiliation with the New York chapter and is in the process reconstituting the organization, according to FPA officials. Historically, regional chapters have been one of the organization's primary strengths, so the FPA has granted them extensive autonomy and independence.

The lines of control between local chapters and FPA National are defined in an amibiguous, legalistic fashion that could be potentially confusing. “It is complicated,” Brand said. “We do not have the authority to oust anyone as president, but we had executive members pleading to us for help. What we can do, and did, is rescind the affiliation agreement with the existing FPA New York chapter and give the local members support to reform the organization.“

Kamboh also has charged that FPA New York leaders discriminated against her for being a whistle-blower and that the national FPA ignored her complaints about the alleged violations. In her complaint filed with the New York Attorney General’s office Bureau of Charities, which oversees nonprofit organizations, she reportedly asked for an investigation of the alleged unethical activities.

According to Barron's, Kamboh has also alleged gender bias. Perkinson and Kamboh have both been active in pro bono activities in the greater New York City area, according to Linkedin and other web sites,.

As a non-profit, FPA exists to provide forums and networks for advisors to exchange ideas and share best practices. It holds various events to advance these objectives and also to promote the value of financial planning and financial litereracy to the public.

While many association leaders cite their titles in local and national non-profit organizations in their own firms' marketing materials, using actual association resources to market their individual businesses could violate non-profit laws and regulations. Moreover, members understandably could be displeased learning that their dues were diverted to promote his or her practice rather than to benefit the general membership and the public.

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