Financial Services Professionals
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) is the national professional organization for Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) in the United States. While its primary focus is on establishing professional standards for accounting and auditing, offering educational resources, and providing certification opportunities, it does not have a specific regulatory mandate concerning personal behaviors like substance abuse or alcoholism among its members.
However, the AICPA does emphasize professional and ethical behavior among CPAs. Here’s how the AICPA might indirectly address issues related to substance abuse and alcoholism:
Code of Professional Conduct
Continuing Professional Education (CPE)
Referral to State CPA Societies or Boards
Awareness and Advocacy
Member Assistance Programs
State Boards of Accountancy
State Boards of Accountancy are the primary entities responsible for the licensure and regulation of Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) in their respective states. The approach to substance abuse and alcoholism may vary from one state to another. Still, many state boards have mechanisms to address these issues if they impact a CPA’s professional performance or the public’s trust.
Here are some general ways in which these boards might handle substance abuse and alcoholism:
Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)
This is the main regulatory body for all securities firms that do business with the public in the United States. It is a non-governmental organization under the supervision of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). FINRA is responsible for:
FINRA, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, primarily regulates broker-dealers to ensure market integrity and protect investors. While FINRA does not directly restrict personal behavior such as substance abuse or alcoholism, it is interested in providing that associated persons (e.g., registered representatives or brokers) act with integrity and in the best interests of their clients.
Here are ways FINRA indirectly addresses issues related to substance abuse and alcoholism:
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
The SEC is a federal agency responsible for enforcing federal securities laws and regulating the securities industry, stock, and options exchanges. While FINRA is responsible for day-to-day oversight and enforcement of rules governing broker-dealers, the SEC oversees the overall framework. It has oversight authority over FINRA and other self-regulatory organizations. Any rule changes or new regulations proposed by FINRA must be approved by the SEC.
Depending on the specific financial activities a broker engages in, they might also be subject to regulation and oversight by other entities like the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), which regulates the commodity futures and options markets in the U.S.
Additionally, each state in the U.S. has its own securities regulator that oversees the activities of brokers and other financial professionals within its jurisdiction.
The SEC does not directly regulate or provide interventions for personal behaviors like substance abuse or alcoholism. However, there are indirect ways in which issues related to substance abuse could intersect with SEC regulations:
Here’s how most State Boards of Nursing typically approach substance abuse and alcoholism among nurses:
- Professional Misconduct: If a person’s substance abuse or alcoholism results in professional misconduct that violates securities laws (e.g., embezzlement, fraud, or providing misleading information), the SEC can take enforcement action against that individual or the firm they represent.
- Disclosure and Reporting Requirements: Publicly traded companies must disclose material events and information that might affect their financial performance or an investor’s decision to buy or sell their securities. If a high-ranking executive’s substance abuse or alcohol-related behavior is deemed material to the company’s operations, it might need to be disclosed.
- Fitness and Integrity: While the SEC does not specifically screen for substance abuse, evidence suggesting a person lacks the character or fitness to be involved in the securities industry could influence decisions, especially if such issues lead to legal or regulatory complications.