The Respondent must file a written Answer to the Complaint or Notice of Investigation with FTI within thirty (30) calendar days from the date of service of the Complaint or Notice of Investigation on the Respondent. The Answer must be sent by certified U.S. mail to the office of FTI, absent a written agreement to accept the filing by another method. It is the Respondent’s sole responsibility to ensure that FTI has received the Answer. A copy of the Answer shall be included with the materials provided to the Hearing Officer in advance of the hearing. In the Answer, the Respondent shall respond to every material allegation contained in the Complaint or Notice of Investigation and set forth any defenses or mitigating circumstances. The Respondent may attach documents to support the Answer.
Absent written permission from FTI or the CDC, Respondent’s Answer is limited to twenty (20) pages and attachments should be limited to only those items responsive to the allegations.
If the Respondent fails to file an Answer within the applicable time period, the Respondent shall be deemed to be in default, and the allegations set forth in the Complaint or forming the basis for the investigation shall be deemed admitted. A default may result in suspension or revocation, at the sole discretion of FTI.
8.5 Request for Extension or Continuance
A Respondent may request an extension to file an Answer. Upon receipt of the request, the Hearing Officer shall either grant or deny the request, in his or her sole discretion. Extensions and/or continuances are generally disfavored by FTI.
DISCOVERY AND EVIDENCE
Following service of a Complaint or Notice of Investigation against a Respondent, the Respondent may obtain copies of non-privileged, non-protected documents in the Respondent’s disciplinary file that are relevant to the allegations in the Complaint or Notice of Investigation. Requests for such documents must be made in writing and directed to FTI. Materials obtained through such a request must be held in the strictest confidence, and may not be used by the Respondent or third parties for any purpose outside of the investigation or proceeding for which they are obtained.
Because the Respondent is not afforded an in-person hearing, any statements by any witnesses must be provided in the form of a written and sworn affidavit, and attached to the Answer or a motion. Witnesses must be clearly identified, with contact information, and submission of a witness statement grants the Hearing Officer permission to contact that witness in the presence of the Respondent or Respondent’s representative.
9.3 Representation by Counsel
Should the Respondent wish to retain counsel, such counsel must be identified to FTI in the Respondent’s Answer or as soon thereafter as counsel begins representation. Upon such identification, all correspondence and communication between FTI, CDC, or the Hearing Officer and Respondent shall occur through counsel. Counsel must be an active member in good standing of any bar of a state, jurisdiction, or territory of the United States, or the equivalent of any country in which the Respondent resides.
Respondent and/or FTI may file a written motion regarding procedural and/or evidentiary matters by Certified U.S. Mail. The motion must state with reasonable particularity the grounds for the motion and the relief sought. If the motion pertains to a specific rule or rules, the motion must identify the rules. The Hearing Officer shall rule on any motion.
10.2 Response to Motion
Respondent and/or FTI may file a written response to any motion. Any response must be filed no later than ten (10) calendar days after the filing of the motion by certified U.S. Mail. No rebuttal is permitted.
Neither motions nor responses to motions shall exceed ten (10) pages. Attachments should be limited to only those documents directly relevant to the relief requested in the motion.
11.1 Reinstatement After Revocation
The final order or decision of the CDC is non-appealable. A Respondent may, however, file a Motion for Reconsideration once following the guidelines of Section 10, above. Motions for Reconsideration will be considered by the CDC in the same manner as the initial hearing. Only final orders or decisions will be reconsidered, not motions or other findings.
The CDC Chair will name a different Hearing Officer to lead consideration of the Motion for Reconsideration. The new Hearing Officer will review de novo the Motion for Reconsideration, the findings of the previous Hearing Officer, and any further documentation provided to the CDC during the initial consideration of the allegations. The Hearing Officer will then present the evidence to the CDC in the same manner described in Section 5, above. The CDC’s order or decision on a Motion for Reconsideration is final.
A Motion for Reconsideration must be made within forty five (45) calendar days of the date of the final order or decision.
12.1 Reinstatement After Revocation
Revocation shall be permanent, and there shall be no opportunity for reinstatement, except where revocation is automatically applied due to revocation of another designation, as provided in Sections 2 and 3. If a Respondent receives an automatic bar due to revocation of another designation, but later receives another qualifying designation, he or she may apply for reinstatement as if the automatic bar was a suspension.
12.2 Reinstatement After Suspension – Request for Reinstatement
A suspended Respondent shall be automatically reinstated upon the expiration of the period of suspension, provided the Respondent files a Request for Reinstatement with the CDC within thirty (30) calendar days of the expiration of the period of suspension. The Request for Reinstatement must include an affirmation that Respondent:
(a) meets all current requirements for CeFT® certification, as they exist at the time of the expiration of the suspension;
(b) has complied with all disciplinary orders or decisions of the CDC;
(c) is fit to use the CeFT® mark and designation; and
(d) was not the subject of any disciplinary action or investigation by any Regulatory Body during the pendency of Respondent’s suspension.
The Request for Reinstatement will be granted or denied at the sole discretion of the then-presiding CDC Chair.
CONFIDENTIALITY OF PROCEEDINGS
Except as otherwise provided herein, all FTI proceedings and investigations shall be confidential and the records of the CDC, the Hearing Officer, and FTI, as well as all pleadings and submissions of Respondent, shall remain confidential and shall not be made public or provided to any person or entity.
13.2 Exceptions to Confidentiality
Subject to privilege and work product doctrines, FTI may release the pleadings and records submitted during disciplinary investigations or proceedings if the records are subpoenaed by a court or Regulatory Body of competent jurisdiction or if the Respondent has waived confidentiality.
Two-thirds of the members of the CDC must be present in order to constitute a quorum, and the approval of a majority of the quorum shall constitute the action of such CDC.
14.2 Methods of Notice and Service
Except as may otherwise be provided in these Disciplinary Rules, notice shall be in writing and the giving of notice and/or service shall be sufficient when made by certified mail sent to the last known address of the Respondent according to the records of FTI, unless otherwise agreed by the parties in writing. Upon designation of counsel, all communications, including notice and service, shall be made by certified mail to counsel, unless otherwise agreed by all parties in writing.
The CDC will assess any and all costs associated with disciplinary proceedings or investigations to the Respondent. In the event that the hearing results in a dismissal of charges or allegations without merit, the hearing costs shall be refunded to the Respondent. The CDC may, in its sole discretion, decide not to assess costs against a Respondent due to financial need or otherwise.
14.4 Publication of Disciplinary Decisions
FTI shall publish the fact of a suspension, revocation or permanent bar, and may identify the Respondent in a press release, on the FTI website, or otherwise as it desires in its sole discretion.
14.5 Requirement of Written Instrument
Any provision herein that requires a notice or communication to be in writing expressly includes email or facsimile.