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Will a Professor, a Strategist, and a Former Chair Fix the CFP Board’s Enforcement?

Denise Voigt Crawford calls upon a formidable group.

A former Texas regulator has selected her deputies to help examine and modernize enforcement at the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.

In July, the CFP Board chose Denise Voigt, who is currently a public member of its board of directors, to lead an independent task force created to critique enforcement in response to a Wall Street Journal article

The story detailed shortcomings of the CFP Board’s LetsMakeAPlan.org website, a directory of designation holders that includes thousands of financial planners facing criminal or regulatory problems or with customer complaints against them.

Some changes were made shortly after the article published. The CFP Board will no longer rely on advisors to self-disclose disciplinary matters, and any conduct in violation of its standards. It has also begun reviewing FINRA’s BrokerCheck, or the Securities and Exchange Commission’s IAPD, when a CFP professional renews their certification.

But more changes might be needed to help preserve the designation and colleagues praised Crawford’s appointment to lead the task force.

“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.”

Crawford was the Texas Securities Commissioner for 17 years and previously a member of the National White Collar Crime Center’s board of directors.

The four-person group she’ll be leading looks formidable. 

It includes Mercer Bullard, a professor at the University of Mississippi School of Law, and formerly the Assistant Chief Counsel for the Division of Investment Management at the SEC. He’s testified before Congress more than 20 times on matters related to business and securities law.

Michael Huggs, the director of the Mississippi Secretary of State’s Securities Division, and Richard Salmen, the former chair of CFP Board’s Board of Directors, have agreed to join the task force.

And Nancy Smith, executive vice president of Corporate Secretary at AARP, is also a member. The state of New Mexico’s former director of securities currently serves on FINRA’s Investor Issues Advisory Committee.

“These individuals have the experience, integrity and forward-thinking approach that will serve the Task Force and CFP Board well,” said Crawford in a statement. “I look forward to all of us rolling up our sleeves and working together to identify ways we can improve the organization’s enforcement program for the benefit of the public.”

The task force is slated to produce a public report and make recommendations after the CFP Board’s November meeting.