Skip to main content
News Release

CFP Board Appoints William A. Nelson as Assistant General Counsel

February 03, 2021


William Nelson 

CFP Board announced today the appointment of William A. Nelson, J.D., LL.M., to the newly created position of Assistant General Counsel. William is returning to CFP Board after four years of service as Public Policy Counsel from 2013-2017.

In this new role, William will be responsible for assisting the General Counsel with the development of standards, including CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct, Sanctions Guidelines, Fitness Standards and Procedural Rules. He will assist the General Counsel with the development of guidance materials concerning the Code and Standards, including formal guidance materials and responses to individual requests for guidance. In addition, he will provide assistance with the adjudication of alleged violations of the Code and Standards and provide assistance with corporate governance matters. He will report directly to CFP Board General Counsel Leo G. Rydzewski.

“As a highly accomplished attorney, William brings considerable experience in the areas of securities regulation, compliance and financial services policy to CFP Board,” said CFP Board CEO Kevin R. Keller, CAE. “He will concentrate his efforts on developing guidance resources to help CFP® professionals comply with the Code and Standards. In addition, he will work to strengthen enforcement and adjudication processes in support of CFP Board’s mission to benefit the public.”

William is an accomplished attorney with several years of experience in the areas of securities regulation, compliance and financial services policy. He currently serves as an adjunct professor of Securities Law at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. He previously taught legal research and writing at the George Washington University Law School. William has been published in several scholarly law journals across the country and his work has been cited in legal treatises and state and federal court decisions.

William is the former Chief Compliance Officer at Mercer Global Advisors Inc., one of the largest independent SEC-registered investment advisers. In this role, William redesigned the firm’s entire compliance program, including the creation of a comprehensive compliance manual drafted to assist the firm in preventing, detecting and correcting violations of securities laws. William served as Legal Advisor to Mercer Global Advisors’ Investment Committee and ERISA Committee and served as a subject matter expert for the organization on questions concerning regulatory compliance.

William has held multiple roles as an attorney with both the Department of Justice and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining Mercer Advisors, he spent four years as Public Policy Counsel with CFP Board. In this role, he researched and analyzed issues related to brokers, dealers, investment advisers and financial planners in support of CFP Board’s public policy, advocacy and regulatory priorities.

William received his Master of Laws degree from the George Washington University Law School in Washington, D.C. He also earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Tulsa College of Law, with Honors, and earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Tulsa.

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 90,000 people in the United States.


John Pappas
Director of External Communications