The CFB Board, the governing body for the certified financial planner designation, temporarily suspended William “Bill” King, CEO of ABA Accountants and a former Commonwealth Financial Network advisor from 2015 to 2017, for failing to disclose fees and commissions he collected for putting investors in a penny stock while also soliciting investors without an SEC registration.
The CFP suspension follows the Securities and Exchange Commission’s decision to bar King from the industry in September 2020. The SEC ordered King to cease and desist his investment services and pay over $100,000 in penalties and fines along with a disgorgement of $519,634.00. Without admitting or denying, King agreed to the conditions.
The SEC will allow King to reapply for registration after three years.
The CFP Board plans to conduct its own investigation to decide if King will keep the CFP designation or not. Until then, King is not allowed to use the CFP mark.
At the time of publication, the ABA Accountant website still listed the CFP mark next to King’s name, but his personal website and social media profiles only show the certified public accountant (CPA) and the certified healthcare business consultant (CHBC) titles.
“The CFP was informed in writing, both in July of 2020 and again in December of 2020 that I surrendered my license, so I am not aware of why there would be a suspension of a license that has already been surrendered on a voluntary basis,” King said in an emailed statement.
Between 2015 and 2018, King, who was working out of Knoxville, Tenn. and Gainesville, Fla., invested clients in penny stocks such as AREB Holdings without mentioning his fees nor the price of the shares purchased, according to the CFP Board and the SEC. He collected $72,000 in shares as commissions and $447,000 in shares as fees.
This article as been updated to include William D. King's comments.