CFP Board Chooses ‘Perfect’ Texas Regulator to Wrangle Enforcement

Denise Voigt Crawford is winning high praise from past colleagues. “She has always been a strong advocate for investors,” says a former securities regulator.

(Illustration by RIA Intel)

(Illustration by RIA Intel)

The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards has assigned a veteran Texas securities regulator to lead a newly-created task force that will examine and modernize its enforcement practices.

The organization with nearly 85,000 designees said Tuesday that it had chosen Denise Voigt Crawford, who is currently a public member of its board of directors, to chair the task force established in response to a Wall Street Journal article published Monday. The story detailed shortcomings of the CFP Board’s website, a directory of designation holders that includes thousands of financial planners facing criminal or regulatory problems or with customer complaints against them.

In a statement Tuesday, the CFP Board said it planned to address the issues raised in the article and continue to look for ways to improve.

Some changes have already been made. The CFP Board will no longer rely on advisors to self-disclose disciplinary matters and any conduct in violation of its standards. Going forward, it will review FINRA’s BrokerCheck or the Securities and Exchange Commission’s IAPD when a CFP professional renews their certification.

The independent task force headed by Crawford will focus on tightening the organization’s enforcement. An updated version of the CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Conduct, which mandates that designation holders act as fiduciaries whenever giving financial advice to clients, goes into effect Oct. 1.

“If she is going to head an independent committee, she is going to be an independent chair. I think she’s very fair-minded and balanced,” said Joseph Borg, the director of the Alabama Securities Commission. “I think she’s perfect for this.”

Both Crawford and Borg have served as president of the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), which represents state and provincial securities regulators in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

“During her service to NASAA, she was always there for collaboration. She had the ability to drill down to the minute details without losing sight of the big picture,” Borg said.

Crawford served as the Texas Securities Commissioner for 17 years and was also previously a member of the National White Collar Crime Center’s board of directors. In addition to being a public board member to the CFP Board, she is also a consultant and expert witness.

Bradley Skolnik, the executive director of the Indiana Office of Admissions and Continuing Education, which oversees the state’s Bar exam, said that Crawford “always keeps her composure” and is a “quick study.”

Skolnik said he looked to Crawford to help analyze tough decisions during his stint as the commissioner of the Indiana Securities Division from 1994 to 2003, which overlapped Crawford’s as the Texas commissioner.

“They chose the right person. She has always been a strong advocate for investors and she will not be deterred from leading that task force in the direction that she feels is appropriate.”

CFP Board CEO Kevin Keller said in a statement that with the heightened standards of the organization, there is a need for the enforcement program to do the same.

“We look forward to receiving the task force’s actionable recommendations, which will strengthen the value of CFP certification,” he said.

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