Public complaints about financial planning triple in 2017: FPSC

By Staff | April 20, 2018 | Last updated on April 20, 2018
2 min read

The Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC) received three times as many public complaints about financial planning in 2017 as in the previous year, its 2017 Enforcement and Disciplinary Review Report said.

The report reviews the FPSC’s oversight of CFP professionals and FPSC level 1 certificants in financial planning.

Of the 76 complaints received, 21% were public complaints, compared to 6% in 2016. The FPSC attributes the increase to its awareness efforts about the complaints process.

The percentage of complaint allegations that originated within the FPSC dropped in 2017 relative to 2016—62% of all complaints versus 78%.

More than half of the 76 complaints led to an investigation, while 8% went straight to the arm’s-length Conduct Review Panel after initial review. More than one-third (35%) of complaints were closed after initial review, says the report.

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The Conduct Review Panel (composed of CFP professionals and members of the public) reviewed 38 cases in 2017, compared to 18 in 2016. Of those, 37% were referred to a hearing panel, while 34% were closed and 29% were closed with guidance, the report says.

The report contained a breakdown for hearing panel penalty decisions for 2016 and 2017 combined but not separated by year. For the two years, 54% of the panel’s decisions resulted in a suspension, 28% led to revocation and 18% resulted in prohibition or re-certification/renewal.

The most common category of complaint last year was client service failure (23.2%), followed by financial planning advice (14.4%) and suitability (12%).

Of the allegations that led to investigations, client service failure (30%) was again the most common, followed by disclosure (16%), client first (16%) and conflict of interest (14%).

Read the full report here. staff


The staff of have been covering news for financial advisors since 1998.