CORRECTED-Lincoln Financial must pay $2 mln to defamed broker

Wed Apr 11, 2012 3:43pm EDT

April 11 (Reuters) - Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp must pay $2 million to a broker who alleged the company fired and then defamed him, a securities arbitration panel ruled.

Jeffrey Concepcion, a 10-year veteran of the company, a unit of Lincoln National Corp, alleged he was terminated after arranging a business venture on behalf of Lincoln Financial bu t before he sealed the deal, according to a ruling by a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority arbitration panel ruling dated Tuesday.

Lincoln Financial would not offer him a severance package unless he signed an agreement not to compete with the company, he alleged, according to the ruling. The company then "made and published" false information about his termination, telling his customers that he made a career change, according to the ruling.

The type of published communication is not clear from the ruling, but it implied that Concepcion "left the industry altogether" and also implied that he was terminated "with cause," Concepcion alleged, according to the ruling.

Concepcion, who filed the case in late 2008, asked for $4.8 million in damages at the time of his hearing in March. The arbitration panel found Lincoln Financial liable, but ordered the company to pay $2 million. As is customary, the panel did not provide a reason for its decision.

Concepcion, who still has his license, is currently a broker affiliated with a different firm, LPL Financial LLC, according to regulatory filings.

Lawyers for Concepcion were not immediately available for comment. A spokesman for Lincoln National Corp declined to immediately comment.

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