A major shakeup hit the New York Chapter of the FPA amid allegations of professional misconduct and infighting by top executives, the national organization says.
A new legal entity now represents the roughly 600 members of the FPA of New York after it was determined the previous leadership was no longer functioning, says the FPA. Because the prior organization was incorporated separately, the FPA did not have legal purview to disband or make changes to the NY board, and instead, elected to create a new group to represent the chapter.
Although the association normally does not step into conflicts at state chapters, in this case, no other resolution could be found, says David Brand, the FPA’s director of strategic operations, emphasizing the chapter is not disbanding and day-to-day operations will continue as usual.
“We’re not exercising any legal authority,” Brand says. “Whoever sits on the old board still exists and they can decide to do whatever they want, but they won’t have the capacity to represent the FPA.”
Headed by Scott Kahan, a previous board president, the new FPA of New York will be funded by the national organization and retains its executive director, Clary Delano, Brand says.
The previous chapter board was notified of the change March 22, says an FPA spokesman.
The move comes amid allegations of unethical behavior first reported by Investment News. The most recent FPA of New York president, Devika Kamboh, filed a complaint with the New York Attorney General’s office claiming that members of the organization improperly used data collected at chapter events to privately solicit affluent clients to their practices without their knowledge, according to the complaint independently reviewed by Financial Planning.
The FPA denied knowledge of an official complaint but recognized the allegations follow internal struggles in the New York chapter.
“To be clear, we have not received any kind of official notice, of any claim, so it’s what we’re reading in emails and seeing in the press,” says David Brand, the FPA’s director of strategic operations. “These are allegations — as opposed to we’ve been given notice of an actual claim.”
He described ongoing tensions at the New York chapter, which left the boardroom “untenable.”
“The best I could say at this point is that any reasonable person, after having seen the interactions of the board, would have concurred that it was impossible to operate in a functional way,” he adds. “Depending on who you talk to, you would get a lot of different opinions.”
It remains to be seen if any of the old regime will make the transition to the new board. There is currently no timeline for appointing new leadership.
Kamboh also alleged she was a victim of discrimination at the FPA, and her legal counsel is in the process of filing formal proceedings with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, according to the complaint.
The FPA denies those allegations. Kamboh and her attorney, Martin Asatrian, declined to comment.
“Ms. Kamboh has made a series of inflammatory and unsubstantiated allegations, among them, that FPA ignored her allegations of unethical behavior by certain chapter board members,” says Ben Lewis, FPA’s director of public relations. “This is not accurate. Any allegations that Ms. Kamboh is making about discriminatory practices that FPA has engaged in are false.”
All complaints regarding nonprofits are reviewed by the Attorney General’s Charities Bureau, which only opens investigations if it uncovers reliable evidence of misconduct. The bureau did not return a request for comment.
The FPA is comprised of 86 state chapters and 23,000 CFP members nationwide, of which, 551 are registered to New York, according to the FPA. The former FPA of New York’s 990-N filed with the IRS in 2016 showed gross receipts not exceeding $50,000, according to the IRS.
The former New York chapter did not return requests for comment.