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CFP Board’s Director of Investigations to Exit

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Rex Staples, the director of investigations for the beleaguered CFP Board of Standards, is stepping down at the end of this week.

Staples "is leaving to become more involved in complex areas of securities regulation and administration," CFP Board spokesman Dan Drummond said in a statement. 

Staples, who joined the CFP Board in April 2012 following jobs as general counsel of the North American Securities Administrators Association and enforcement head of the Washington State Securities Division, did not return calls for comment. 

The CFP Board has been embroiled in controversy since last November, when then-chairman Alan Goldfarb resigned after allegations he may have violated provisions of the board’s standards of professional conduct. He was sanctioned in June by the board's ad hoc Disciplinary and Ethics Commission for misrepresenting his compensation model.

In the time since his resignation, Goldfarb has been outspoken in denying that he mischaracterized his compensation. In a listing on the FPA website, he described his compensation initially as fee-only and later, in a revision, as "salary"; he was also part-owner of a broker-dealer firm that could also receive commissions.

"Nothing I did in the last five years had anything to do with selling on a commission basis,” he told Financial Planning.

The sanction set off a firestorm among advisors, many of whom thought the board's reaction was heavy-handed.

Last month the CFP Board found itself in another public controversy, splitting from NAPFA on the definition of “fee only” planning.

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