The AFFP Commitment
AFFP certificate holders should endeavor to provide professional and skillful service to their clients. An Agriculture Focused Financial Planning certificant should act with integrity, use sound judgement, and work to serve the needs of their clients.
The AFFP program seeks to assist consumers with complaints against AFFP professionals that may have acted against the AFFP standards. Review procedures allow for a thorough review and decision on whether a violation of AFFP standards occurred, as well as if any internal sanctions are warranted.
Complaints against a designation holder are reviewed vigorously and impartially. Complaints are considered carefully, as it could negatively affect a career, a reputation, and the ability to earn a living. Therefore, claims of misconduct alone will not justify disciplinary action. Proof of misconduct must be established. Examples of what normally does not constitute unethical behavior include:
- Honest disagreements over how a matter should or should not be handled
- An error in judgement, as professionals may not always give the perfect response to a given situation and relevant circumstances, especially when reviewed in hindsight
- Disagreements regarding compensation size
- Changes in security values or the length of time it will take to deliver recommendations to the client
The Complaint Process
A Complaint Form should be accompanied by any important information about the circumstances, such as relevant letters, contracts, agreements, and other documents. The AFFP team will request additional information and /or interviews if it appears necessary.
Normal remedies under state and federal laws and regulations with applicable regulatory bodies are not satisfied by a complaint to the AFFP team. It is the duty of the complainant to pursue such actions. However, the actions and findings or relevant regulatory bodies will be given consideration in the AFFP investigation.
It is difficult to determine the length of time required to explore a complaint in advance. The complexity of the grievance will dictate the time required to fully explore the complaint. Grievances are generally processed in the order they are submitted to the AFFP team.
There is no enforcement mechanism for the AFFP team to require a member that has operated improperly to compensate a complainant for losses or damages. Such remedies must be pursued through legal avenues.
Complaints will not be decided based solely on the consumer complaint or the certificant’s answer. All available information will factor into final decisions.
The AFFP team will act only to enforce the AFFP standards and their interpretation of the professional services that the public can reasonable expect to receive from certificants. Enforce mechanisms include private censure, public letter of admonition, and the suspension or revocation of the right to use the AFFP designation.