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Press Release

CFP Board Imposes Public Discipline

July 02, 2020

Disciplinary actions relate to seven current or former CFP® professionals

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) announced today public disciplinary actions against the following individuals, effective immediately or on the date noted in each case. Public disciplinary actions taken by CFP Board, in order of increasing severity, include letters of admonition, suspensions and permanent revocations.

This release contains information about recent disciplinary actions relating to seven current or former CFP® professionals. Of these actions, there are four suspensions and three administrative revocations.

The basis for each decision can be found in the Disciplinary Action Report below and on CFP Board’s website. The public may check on an individual’s disciplinary history and certification status with CFP Board at www.CFP.net/verify. That website also provides links to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) BrokerCheck and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) Investment Adviser Public Disclosure databases, which are free tools that may be used to conduct research on the background and experience of CFP® professionals who are subject to FINRA or SEC oversight, including with respect to employment history, regulatory actions, and investment-related licensing information, arbitrations, and complaints.

CFP Board’s enforcement process is a critical consumer protection. As part of their certification, a CFP® professional agrees 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 enforces its ethical standards by investigating incidents of alleged violations and, where there is probable cause to believe there are grounds for discipline, presenting a Complaint containing the alleged violations to CFP Board’s Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) pursuant to CFP Board’s Procedural Rules, which became effective on June 30, 2020, or its predecessor Disciplinary Rules and Procedures (Disciplinary Rules). If the Commission determines there are grounds for sanction (previously called grounds for discipline), then it may impose a sanction ranging from a private censure or public sanction (previously called a letter of admonition) to the suspension or revocation of the right to use the CFP® marks. CFP Board’s Procedural Rules set forth the process for investigating matters and imposing discipline where violations have been found.

The Commission meets at least six times a year to provide a fair, unbiased review of any matter in which CFP Board has alleged that a CFP® professional has violated the Code and Standards, or its predecessor Standards.

The Commission functions in accordance with the Procedural Rules and reviews all matters on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the details specific to an individual case. While CFP Board has attempted to capture the details relevant to each decision, the summary nature of these releases may omit certain details affecting the decision. Accordingly, the decisions and/or rationale described in the releases may not apply to other cases reviewed by the Commission or reflect the Commission’s future interpretation or application of the Code and Standards, or the predecessor Standards.

STATE

NAME

LOCATION

DISCIPLINE

Pennsylvania

James Vincent Cipriotti

Radnor

Suspension

Florida

Bryan S. Girgenti

Altamonte Springs

Suspension

Massachusetts

Katherine Horgan

Osterville

Suspension

California

Richard LaBare

Rancho Mirage

Administrative Revocation

Arizona

Paul Mosley

Lake Havasu City

Administrative Revocation

New Mexico

Thomas Martin

Santa Fe

Suspension

New Jersey

Samuel K. Van Allen

Milford

Administrative Revocation

 

SUSPENSIONS

FLORIDA

Bryan S. Girgenti (Altamonte Springs): In June 2020, the Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) and Mr. Girgenti entered into a settlement agreement in which Mr. Girgenti agreed that CFP Board would issue a three-month suspension of his right to use the CFP® certification marks. In the settlement agreement, Mr. Girgenti consented to findings that he, as the president, chief compliance officer, and sole owner and registered associated person of his firm, entered into: (a) a 2010 Consent Order with the Florida Office of Financial Regulation (“Florida”) for failure to file annual financial statements for 2008 and 2009, resulting in violations of various sections of the Florida Administrative Code and Florida Statutes; and (b) a 2018 Consent Order with Florida for numerous misrepresentations in his firm’s Form ADV, ADV Part 2A and Part 2B in violation of Florida law. Mr. Girgenti also consented to findings that he failed to disclose to CFP Board his 2018 Florida Consent Order on his July 1, 2019 CFP Board Renewal Application and never disclosed his 2010 Consent Order to CFP Board. Pursuant to the settlement agreement, Mr. Girgenti also consented to findings that his conduct violated Rules 2.1, 13.1, 13.3, and 13.4 of the Rules of Conduct and provided grounds for discipline pursuant to Articles 3(a) and 3(g) of the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures. Accordingly, the Commission issued to Mr. Girgenti a suspension for three months. Mr. Girgenti’s suspension is effective from June 29, 2020 to September 29, 2020.

MASSACHUSETTS

Katherine Horgan (Osterville): In August 2019, the Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) and Ms. Horgan entered into a settlement agreement in which Ms. Horgan agreed that CFP Board would issue a one-year and one-day suspension of her right to use the CFP® certification marks. Ms. Horgan also agreed to complete 15 additional hours of continuing education (CE). In the settlement agreement, Ms. Horgan consented to findings based on a 2019 Massachusetts Consent Order that she made unsuitable securities recommendations in violation of Massachusetts law, for which she was ordered to permanently cease and desist, compensate impacted clients in the amount of $100,000, and pay an administrative fine (together with her firm and another individual) of $40,000. Ms. Horgan’s registration in Massachusetts as an investment adviser representative also was suspended for two months. Pursuant to the settlement agreement with CFP Board, Ms. Horgan consented to findings that her conduct with respect to the unsuitable recommendations violated Rules 4.1, 4.3, and 4.5 of the Rules of Conduct, providing grounds for discipline under Article 3(a) of the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures. Accordingly, the Commission issued to Ms. Horgan a suspension for one year and one day and additional CE hours. Ms. Horgan’s suspension was effective as of August 27, 2019. On September 24, 2019, Ms. Horgan sent CFP Board a letter in which she voluntarily relinquished her CFP® certification.

NEW MEXICO

Thomas Martin (Santa Fe): In June 2020, the Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) and Mr. Martin entered into a settlement agreement in which Mr. Martin agreed that CFP Board would issue a three-month suspension of his right to use the CFP® certification marks. In the settlement agreement, Mr. Martin consented to findings that, from 2011 through 2017, of exercising discretion in multiple clients’ accounts without obtaining prior written authorization from the clients. This conduct led to a 2011 Letter of Warning from his firm, a 2012 Cautionary Action Letter from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), a 2014 Written Reprimand from his firm, a 2017 termination of his firm, and a 2017 FINRA Investigation and 2020 Letter of Acceptance, Waiver, and Consent wherein he consented to a 15-business day suspension and a $5,000 fine. Mr. Martin failed to report to CFP Board his FINRA suspension within 30 calendar days as required by Article 13.2 of the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures (Disciplinary Rules). Pursuant to the settlement agreement, Mr. Martin also consented to findings that his conduct violated Rules 4.3 and 5.1 of the Rules of Conduct and provided grounds for discipline pursuant to Articles 3(a), 3(e), 13.1, 13.2, 13.3, and 13.4 of the Disciplinary Rules. Accordingly, the Commission issued to Mr. Martin a suspension for three months. Mr. Martin’s suspension is effective from June 29, 2020 to September 29, 2020.

PENNSYLVANIA

James Vincent Cipriotti (Radnor): In December 2019, the Disciplinary and Ethics Commission (Commission) issued an order in which Mr. Cipriotti received a three-month suspension of his right to use the CFP® certification marks. The Commission issued its order after determining that Mr. Cipriotti mailed a solicitation to potential clients that contained false and misleading information and offered an unlawful $200 Visa gift card as an inducement for prospective clients to schedule an office appointment with him. The Commission found the solicitation misleading because (1) it did not identify the product to which Mr. Cipriotti was referring, (2) Mr. Cipriotti added emphasis to language through underlining and bolding of certain words in the solicitation, and not others, which created an unbalanced and deceptive document, (3) it stated that, by receiving a free retirement income analysis from Mr. Cipriotti, prospective clients would not outlive their money, (4) it stated that the unidentified investment product’s return was guaranteed and that the product had no fees when a brochure for the annuity Mr. Cipriotti later identified as the product contained the disclaimer that the product “may lose value” and also stated that there were surrender fees for withdrawals in excess of the penalty-free amount, and (5) it failed to disclose the risks associated with the investment product in his solicitation. The Commission also found that, by offering the $200 gift card in his solicitation, Mr. Cipriotti exceeded the di minimis exception to Pennsylvania’s rebating and inducement law, which only permits an inducement of less than or equal to $100. The Commission determined that Mr. Cipriotti’s conduct violated Rules 2.1 and 4.3 of the Rules of Conduct and provided grounds for discipline pursuant to Articles 3(a) of the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures. Accordingly, the Commission issued to Mr. Cipriotti a suspension for three months. Mr. Cipriotti’s suspension is effective from July 1, 2020 until November 1, 2020.

ADMINISTRATIVE REVOCATIONS

ARIZONA

Paul Mosley (Lake Havasu City): In April 2020, CFP Board issued an order permanently revoking Mr. Mosley’s right to use the CFP® certification marks. This discipline followed Mr. Mosley’s failure to file an Answer to CFP Board’s Complaint within the required timeframe. CFP Board’s Complaint alleged that Mr. Mosley was terminated from his firm for “compliance policy violations related to complying with disciplinary action and heightened supervision, soliciting a prohibited security and suitability of a transaction.” The Complaint further alleged that, prior to his termination, Mr. Mosley had been the subject of prior discipline by the firm, including a Letter of Reprimand that cited multiple instances of recommending unsuitable investment strategies, the failure to provide full and fair disclosure of risks, the failure to follow procedures to obtain approval to execute trades for clients in energy sector products, and improperly recommending certain closed-end funds that were not approved for solicitation to at least 22 clients. In connection with that discipline, Mr. Mosley’s firm assessed a $1,000 fine and he was placed on a six-month Heightened Supervision Plan. CFP Board’s Complaint further alleged that Mr. Mosley’s conduct violated Rules 5.1 of the Rules of Conduct, providing grounds for discipline under Article 3(a) of the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures (Disciplinary Rules). Mr. Mosley declined to file an Answer to the Complaint to CFP Board within 30 calendar days of the date of service, as required by Article 7.3 of the Disciplinary Rules. In accordance with Article 7.4 of the Disciplinary Rules, the allegations set forth in the Complaint were deemed admitted, and CFP Board issued an Administrative Order of Revocation. Mr. Mosley’s revocation was effective as of May 27, 2020.

CALIFORNIA

Richard LaBare (Rancho Mirage): In April 2020, CFP Board issued an order permanently revoking Mr. LaBare’s right to use the CFP® certification marks. This discipline followed Mr. LaBare’s failure to file an Answer to CFP Board’s Complaint within the required timeframe. CFP Board’s Complaint alleged that the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) suspended Mr. LaBare’s registration indefinitely starting April 1, 2019 based upon Mr. LaBare’s failure to respond timely to several requests for information, in violation of FINRA Rule 8210. On June 11, 2019, after Mr. LaBare continued to fail to respond to the original requests and failed to request termination of his suspension within three months of the implementation of the suspension, FINRA imposed a permanent bar on Mr. LaBare from associating with any FINRA member in any capacity. The Complaint also alleged that, on January 31, 2020, the Insurance Commissioner of the State of California suspended Mr. LaBare’s license for ten days as accident and health agent and life-only agent for failure to notify the Commissioner of the FINRA disciplinary actions. The Complaint further alleged that Mr. LaBare never disclosed either of the actions taken by FINRA nor the action taken by the Insurance Commissioner of the State of California to CFP Board and also that CFP Board had discovered that Mr. LaBare previously failed to disclose details to CFP Board regarding an arbitration, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, an arbitration award for $160,000, and a termination by a prior firm. On March 23, 2020, CFP Board imposed an automatic interim suspension upon Mr. LaBare in connection with the FINRA bar. CFP Board’s Complaint further alleged that Mr. Mosley’s conduct violated Rules 4.3, 6.2, and 6.4 of the Rules of Conduct and  provided grounds to discipline Mr. LaBare under Articles 3(a) and 3(d) of the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures (Disciplinary Rules). Mr. LaBare declined to file an Answer to the Complaint to CFP Board within 30 calendar days of the date of service, as required by Article 7.3 of the Disciplinary Rules. In accordance with Article 7.4 of the Disciplinary Rules, the allegations set forth in the Complaint were deemed admitted, and CFP Board issued an Administrative Order of Revocation. Mr. LaBare’s revocation was effective as of May 27, 2020.

NEW JERSEY

Samuel K. Van Allen (Milford): In October 2019, CFP Board issued an order permanently revoking Mr. Van Allen’s right to use the CFP® certification marks. This discipline followed Mr. Van Allen’s failure to file an Answer to CFP Board’s Complaint within the required timeframe. CFP Board’s Complaint alleged that Mr. Van Allen failed to respond to multiple requests for information from CFP Board about a Form U-5 disclosure stating that Mr. Van Allen had been permitted to resign from a broker-dealer registered with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority while under investigation for violating internal company policies in connection with confidential customer information. Respondent did not disclose this event to CFP Board. CFP Board’s Complaint further alleged that Mr. Van Allen’s conduct provided grounds for under Article 3(f) of the Disciplinary Rules and Procedures (Disciplinary Rules). Mr. Van Allen declined to file an Answer to CFP Board’s Complaint within 20 calendar days of the date of service, as required by Article 7.3 of the Disciplinary Rules. In accordance with Article 7.4 of the Disciplinary Rules, the allegations set forth in the Complaint were deemed admitted, and CFP Board issued an Administrative Order of Revocation. Mr. Van Allen’s revocation was effective as of November 11, 2019.

About CFP Board

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 firms and consumer groups as the standard for financial planning, CFP® certification is held by more than 87,000 people in the United States.

Contact

Jeanne Hamrick
Director, External Communications
202-379-2252
jhamrick@cfpboard.org