January, 2014 InFRE Update: Certificant Complaints and Discipline
It’s a good thing to periodically remind those of us who hold the Certified Retirement Counselor® (CRC®) Certification of the procedures in place in case an event occurs that triggers denial, revocation or suspension of use of the CRC® certification.
A CRC® Certificant’s right to use the mark may be denied, revoked or suspended or other disciplinary action taken for failure to meet initial or renewal requirements, having been found guilty of committing a felony, violation of examination procedures or security, for misrepresenting or falsifying application or other information related to professional practice, for improper use of the credentials, or other violation of the InFRE Board of Standards (BOS) policies, procedures, or requirements. The CRC® Disciplinary Committee is the only entity authorized to make decisions with respect to disciplinary actions, subject to appeals brought to the CRC® Appeals Committee in accordance with established BOS policies and procedures as follows:
8.1.1. Charge by a Complainant. Upon receipt of a written complaint, the Disciplinary Committee will conduct an initial investigation into the allegations made by the complainant. The CRC® Disciplinary Committee will determine if an investigation is necessary and so inform the complainant and the Certificant in writing. A sample Certificant Complaint Reporting Form and instructions is provided in Exhibit F of the CRC® Program Policies Manual.
8.1.2. Exploration. If the CRC® Disciplinary Committee determines that further investigation into the complaint is warranted, the Certificant will be so notified in writing, including the allegations of the complainant. The Certificant then has up to 30 calendar days to file a written response. If no response is received within 30 calendar days, the CRC® Disciplinary Committee will assume the Certificant has agreed with the allegations in the complaint and initiate an appropriate form of discipline of its choosing.
8.1.3. Confidence and Objectivity. All investigations and deliberations of the CRC® Appeals Committee are conducted in confidence, with all written communications, sealed and marked “Personal and Confidential” and they are conducted objectively, without any indication of prejudgment.
8.1.4. Hearing. Upon receipt of a written response to a complaint by a Certificant, the CRC® Disciplinary Committee will consider all materials provided by the complainant and the Certificant. The Certificant may appear in person or via phone to present relevant information about the complaint. The CRC® Disciplinary Committee will determine by a majority vote if a violation of the CRC®Code of Ethics has occurred. If not, the complaint will be dismissed and all parties informed in writing. If a violation has occurred, the CRC® Disciplinary Committee may apply an appropriate form of discipline.
8.1.5. Forms of discipline may include, but are not limited to:
- Private written warning
- Public written reprimand
- Suspension of the right to use the certification marks for a specified period of time
- Permanent revocation of the right to use the certification marks
The complainant and the Certificant will be informed in writing of the appropriate form of discipline chosen by the CRC® Disciplinary Committee.
8.1.6. Appeals Process. The Certificant may appeal the CRC® Disciplinary Committee’s decision to the CRC® Appeals Committee, which will consider all disciplinary appeals and respond to the Candidate in accordance with the appeals policy stated in Section 7.1. The decision of the CRC® Appeals Committee will be final
Immediate Grounds for Discipline
Any of the following acts or omissions committed by a CRC® Certificant shall form grounds for discipline. The list is not exclusive, as other actions or omissions may also lead to disciplinary action.
- Any act or omission that violate the CRC® Code of Ethics
- Any act or omission that violates state or federal criminal law
- Failure to respond to InFRE’s Disciplinary Board without good reason
- False or misleading statements made to InFRE
- Intentional obstruction of the Disciplinary Board in the complaint process
Candidates and Certificants are entitled to appeal determinations made by the BOS regarding a Certificant’s revocation or other disciplinary action. Within thirty (30) days of receipt of an adverse decision, Certificants must submit their formal written appeal with all supporting documentation. The written appeal must include the stated appeal, the reason for the appeal (including relevant supporting materials), and appellant’s daytime telephone number.
The CRC® Appeals Committee will meet by teleconference within 30 days of receipt of the appeal. All determinations regarding appeals must be made by majority vote of the CRC® Appeals Committee.
Notice of the CRC® Appeals Committee determination will be provided to the appellant within 10 business days of the decision. The appeal shall not include a hearing or any similar trial-type proceeding. The CRC® Appeals Committee’s determination will be final.
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