Suspensions of certified financial planners and qualified associate financial planners increased last year while bans were down, according to the FP Canada Standards Council’s 2022 report released Wednesday.
As part of the report, the Standards Council detailed its annual enforcement activity. It received 84 complaints last year, 11 of which were referred to a discipline hearing panel. In 2021, 17 of the 81 complaints received were referred to a panel.
The top allegations in complaints against financial planners last year related to putting clients first, client service and suitability (16.7% each).
Among the complaints that led to an investigation of misconduct, nearly one-quarter related to allegations around suitability (24%), while 16% were about integrity and another 16% were around conflicts of interest. Misappropriation was next at 8%.
Of the 16 disciplinary hearings held last year, about three-quarters (73%) resulted in suspensions. No hearings resulted in bans, though 13% led to temporary or permanent bans because of non-cooperation. Another 13% led to letters of admonishment.
The respective figures for the previous year were 45% leading to suspensions, 36% to permanent bans and 18% were cases of non-cooperation, with no letters of admonishment.
In the latest report, misconduct resulting in suspensions included relying on a third party to make recommendations and provide financial planning services to clients and processing investment instructions without obtaining the client’s direct authorization.
FP Canada also doled out discipline for changing client telephone numbers in an employer’s database to gain a competitive advantage before moving to another employer, and for plagiarizing from a colleague on assignments and on the final assessment for the CFP Professional Education Program.