At the same time as the Financial Planning Association (FPA) puts in place the necessary infrastructure to become part of a code monitoring body, its Conduct Review Commission (CRC) has imposed immediate sanctions against two member financial planners, one of whom was a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and FPA Gold Coast chapter chair.
At least some of the issues which gave rise to the CRC action related to the FPA’s arrangement with building industry fund Cbus.
The FPA said that its independent disciplinary body had determined that FPA member planners, Matthew Brown and Dianne Bainbridge had breached the FPA’s Code of Professional Practice and because neither than opted to appeal the CRC’s decision there sanctions would apply immediately.
It said that, effective immediately, Brown’s FPA membership and CFP designation had been suspended for two years including rights and privileges while, separately, Bainbridge had her FPA membership and Financial Planner AFP designation suspended for six months.
The FPA said Brown’s details had been removed from the FGPA Find a Planner director and that he had been stood down as the Chapter Chair of the Gold Coast Chapter Committee.
It said that following a review of advice provided as part of the Cbus FPA Professional Practice Referral Program, the FPA initiated a complaint and investigation relating to the advice and conduct of Brown in August 2017. In October 2018, the CRC panel determined he breached the FPA Code in seven of the 14 instances of alleged breaches.
The FPA said the CRC had asked Brown to submit details of the steps he would take to improve advice practices and systems. If the reported improvements were not satisfactory, Brown is to undertake further training and education. He had already refunded the affected clients in a matter approved by the FPA when he first became aware of the concerns raised.
Bainbridge has had her FPA membership and Financial Planner AFP® designation suspended for six months by the CRC, including rights and privileges, following a complaint raised by a former client in November 2017. Bainbridge’s details have also been removed from the FPA Find a Planner directory.
The FPA investigated the alleged conduct and the matter was referred to the Chair of the CRC in July 2018. In November 2018, the CRC panel determined that Bainbridge had breached the FPA Code, with sanctions being handed down in December 2018. She will undertake additional training and education in management and risk management. During the suspension period the FPA will undertake a compliance review of Ms Bainbridge’s client documentation. Bainbridge has already paid the FPA costs and expenses related to the matter.