Responsibilities of a Certified Wealth Strategist®
In accepting the Certified Wealth Strategist® designation I agree to support and adhere to the obligations and responsibilities set out below.
To Clients and the Public:
- Responsible to the public to provide accurate and truthful representation in advertising and public statements regarding services and expected results
- Responsible to the client to provide objective, accurate and truthful professional services
- Responsible to maintain and respect confidentiality of sensitive information obtained in the execution of professional responsibilities
- Responsible to ensure that a client’s interests are not compromised by conflicts of interest or other unethical and inappropriate influence of professional judgment
To the Profession:
- Responsible to provide truthful representation of all information regarding the Certified Wealth Strategist® designation
- Responsible to comply with all applicable laws, regulations and ethical standards governing professional practice in the state and county when providing professional services
- Responsible to respect the intellectual property of others in the profession and to act in an accurate and truthful manner with respect to intellectual property
- Responsible to maintain necessary knowledge and skill in compliance with professional, organizational, and certification standards
Administration of the Responsibilities:
- To maintain my certification, agree to meet the continuing education requirements of the CWS® to include 33 hours of approved programs on accepted subjects every 2 years from the time of initial certification or recertification
- Responsible to report violation of the Responsibilities of a Certified Wealth Strategist® to the CWS® Disciplinary Board
- Responsibility to Cannon Financial Institute, Inc. to use registered trademark on all CWS® or Certified Wealth Strategist® marks being licensed to me by Cannon.
- If suspended or revoked from the designation one must cease all use and relinquish all rights to the use of the CWS® or Certified Wealth Strategist® marks within any marketing or public display.
PUBLIC COMPLAINT PROCESS:
The following information is provided to assist the public in becoming acquainted with CWS® Board’s investigation and complaint procedures while encouraging Certified Wealth Strategist® professionals to maintain high ethical standards. These procedures provide for a thorough review and a decision as to whether there has been a violation of CWS® Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility and if internal sanction is warranted.
A charge against the conduct, actions or recommendations of a Certified Wealth Strategist® professional is a matter that CWS® Board takes seriously. Accordingly, if you feel that the Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility has been violated you should not hesitate to begin the grievance procedure against a Certified Wealth Strategist® professional.
The Board of Directors of this organization provides for a Disciplinary and Ethics Committee that determines whether allegations are justified and whether the unethical conduct warrants disciplinary action. There is no cost to you.
Because one of the functions of CWS® Board is the evaluation of grievances, please be assured that your grievance will be investigated vigorously and impartially.
Ethics and Discipline
When authorized to use the CWS®, Certified Wealth Strategist® and CWS® certification marks (the “CWS® marks”), a Certified Wealth Strategist professional agrees to abide by the Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility and to comply with the philosophy and mission of the CWS® Board
A grievance filed against a designee must be considered very carefully since it could negatively affect a certificant’s career, reputation and ability to earn a living. Thus, it takes more than a claim of misconduct to justify disciplinary action. Proof of misconduct must be established and supported with evidence.
A grievance should relate to unethical conduct – a violation of CWS® Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility – that can be proven by evidence. An error neither in judgment nor disagreement about how a matter should or should not have been handled would constitute unethical conduct. Certified Wealth Strategist® professionals, as any other professionals, may not always give the perfect reciprocation to a given set of circumstances.
For example, disagreements about fees do not necessarily constitute unethical conduct. Unexpected declines in security values or the length of time it may take to communicate to a client with a completed plan do not necessarily constitute unethical conduct.
WHAT IS THE REVIEW AND DISCIPLINE PROCESS?
Disciplinary Process and Procedures
The disciplinary procedures of CWS® Disciplinary & Ethics Committee have been devised to ensure a fair and reasonable process for a CERTIFIED WEALTH STRATEGIST® professional against whom allegations of Code of Ethics violations are brought. The committee consists of 4 subcommittees, which are comprised of Staff, the Hearing Panel, Board of Professional Review and the Board of Appeals. The committee meets on a monthly basis to review all complaints.
- Request for Investigation – Upon receipt of a written complaint, the CWS® Staff will review the allegations to determine if further investigation is warranted.
- Investigation – If the staff determines to proceed with an investigation, the CERTIFIED WEALTH STRATEGIST® professional is given written notice of the investigation, which contains the general nature of the allegations. The CERTIFIED WEALTH STRATEGIST® professional is given 30 days within which to file a written response. If no response is received within the allotted 30 days a formal complaint is issued and the case is presented to a hearing panel (see #4).
- Probable Cause Determination – The staff determines if there is probable cause to believe grounds for discipline exists. If so, the staff will issue a formal complaint against the CERTIFIED WEALTH STRATEGIST® professional and a notice of hearing. The complaint contains the specific allegations of misconduct and the potential Code of Ethics and/or Practice Standards violations. The CERTIFIED WEALTH STRATEGIST® professional has 20 days from the date of receipt of the complaint to file a written answer. If no answer is received, the allegations in the complaint are deemed admitted and the CERTIFIED WEALTH STRATEGIST® professional’s right to use the CWS® certification marks is administratively revoked.
- Hearing Panel – When a formal complaint is filed, a hearing takes place before a panel of a minimum of three individuals. At least two members of every hearing panel is a member of the Board of Directors and at least one member must be a CERTIFIED WEALTH STRATEGIST® professional. The respondent is entitled to appear in person or via teleconference, to be represented by counsel at the hearing, to cross-examine witnesses and to present evidence on his or her behalf.
- Board of Professional Review – The hearing panel submits its findings for review to the Board of Professional Review, which, after considering all the facts and recommendations, renders a final decision.
- Board of Appeals – If a CERTIFIED WEALTH STRATEGIST® professional is aggrieved by the decision of the Board of Professional Review a CERTIFIED WEALTH STRATEGIST® professional has the right to petition the decision to the Board of Appeals. The Board of Appeals is composed of up to three members. Members of the Board of Appeals may not be members of the Board of Professional Review.
Forms of Discipline
If grounds for discipline have been established, the Board of Directors may impose any of the forms of discipline below. All disciplinary actions, except private written censure, may be publicly disseminated.
- A private written reprimand
· A public letter of admonition
- Suspension of the right to use the CWS®® marks for a specified period of time, not to exceed five years
- Permanent revocation of the right to use the CWS® marks.
WHEN DO WE REMOVE A PROFESSIONAL?
Grounds for Discipline
Misconduct by a CERTIFIED WEALTH STRATEGIST® professional, including the following acts or omissions, constitutes grounds for discipline, whether or not the misconduct occurred in the course of a client relationship
- Any act or omission which violates the provisions of CWS® Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility
- Any act or omission, which violates the criminal laws of any state or of the U.S.
- Any act which is the proper basis for suspension of a professional license
- Any act or omission which violates CWS® Board’s Disciplinary Rules & Procedures
- Failure to respond to a request by the Board of Directors without good cause
- Obstruction of the Board of Directors performance of its duties
- Any false or misleading statement made to CWS® Board
This list is not exclusive. There may be other acts or omissions amounting to unprofessional conduct, which may also constitute grounds for discipline.
Click here to file a grievance.