In a surprise move, incoming National Association of Personal Financial Advisors Chairman, Ron Rhoades, announced today that because of a compliance violation by his firm he will not be assuming the helm of the advocacy group on September 1 as anticipated.A statement from NAPFA says that the association decided to "move on" and seek a new chair after Rhoades voluntarily disclosed the violation. Rhoades also serves as an assistant professor and program chair for the Personal Financial Planning Program in the Business Department of Alfred State College."Over the past several weeks," Rhoades wrote in an open letter, "I discerned that I and my firm (of which I serve as Chief Compliance Officer and President) had committed a compliance violation by failing to timely file registration papers with the State of Florida Division of Securities."Rhoades goes on to explain that his firm, ScholarFi Inc. in Alfred, N.Y., was formed in September as a state-registered firm in New York. However, at that time, the firm also had 11 clients from Florida. That number exceeds the limit of five, above which firms also must register in Florida."I had considered in the late summer of 2011 whether to register in Florida," Rhoades continues in his letter, "but mistakenly believed that I could wait until the first quarter of 2012."Although he filed those documents with Florida in February, he said, he learned in May that he had made the mistake. "Since then I have undertaken candid disclosures of all requested facts to the state, and I await their final determination," he wrote. "While my mistake was unintentional, this violation of compliance regulations is nevertheless material in nature. The mistake was mine, and mine alone. I accept full responsibility for my personal mistake, and all consequences that may flow therefrom, including the decision by NAPFA to move on without me servicing as chair in the coming year."Given that the oversight appears to be unintentional and not to have harmed any clients, well-known planner Ric Edelman of Edelman Financial called NAPFA's decision regrettable. "It seems to reflect what many consider to be the organization's tendency to take extreme views and not consider individual circumstances or others' views," Edelman says. NAPFA says it will hold a special election next month to fill the spot. Until then, current Chair, Susan John, will continue in the position.
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