(Dow Jones) Two units of Lincoln National Corp. (LNC) must pay the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority a total of $600,000 in fines for failing to safeguard customer information.
Finra has fined Lincoln Financial Securities Inc. $450,000 and Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. $150,000 for allowing certain current and former employees to access account records through any Internet browser using shared login information and passwords, Finra said Wednesday.
More than one million customer-account records were accessed through shared user names and passwords between 2002 and 2009, according to Finra, Wall Street's self-policing organization.
The two units agreed to the fines in a settlement. They neither admitted nor denied the charges, but consented to Finra's findings.
Neither of the two Lincoln National units had adopted policies and procedures to monitor distribution of shared passwords, according to Finra, so they couldn't track which employees, or how many, had access to the information during the time period in question.
Confidential customer records were at risk as a result, says Finra, including names, Social Security numbers, account balances and other details.
Both units also lacked procedures to disable or change shared user names and passwords, even after branch employees left the firms. Lincoln had no way to determine whether former employees were continuing to use the login information, according to Finra.
The Lincoln units notified all customers whose account information was potentially exposed and offered them credit monitoring and restoration services for one year, according to Finra's announcement.
A Lincoln Financial Group spokeswoman said there's no "reason to believe that client information has been acquired or misused by any unauthorized person."
The two units took "prompt and aggressive action" to improve data security and strengthen policies upon learning of the data vulnerabilities, she said, in a statement.
Copyright (c) 2011, Dow Jones. For more information about Dow Jones' services for advisors, please click here.