Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp. must pay $2 million to a broker who alleged that his company fired him and then damaged his professional reputation, a securities arbitration panel ruled Wednesday.
Jeffrey A. Concepcion, 45, a veteran broker and manager for Lincoln Financial Advisors, alleged he was fired after having arranged a business venture on behalf of the company, but before he sealed the deal, according to a ruling by a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (Finra) arbitration panel ruling.
Lincoln Financial Advisors is a unit of Lincoln National Corp. Concepcion managed the company's offices in Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio, and was also a financial advisor when he was terminated, according to a transcript of Finra's arbitration ruling.
The Finra panel ruled in favor of Concepcion and ordered Lincoln Financial Advisors to pay him an estimated $2.04 million in compensatory damages and a $375 reimbursement of the non- refundable portion of the arbitration panel filing fee.
Concepcion filed his case in late 2008 and 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 only $2 million. As is customary, the panel did not provide a reason for its decision.
Concepcion said that prior to his termination he had arranged a meeting with a potential managing partner of a number of Wachovia offices in Ohio specializing in variable life insurance sales. As the deal was being completed, Concepcion said Lincoln Financial executives objected to the deal. He said that company officials subsequently fired him, claiming he didn't provide enough time for them to consider the deal, and implying that he had overstepped his authority.
Concepcion said Lincoln Financial officials told him they wouldn't give him a severance package unless he agreed to a non-competition agreement, which he refused. As a consequence, Concepcion claimed that Lincoln Financial circulated false and misleading information regarding his termination, telling his customers he had made a "career change" and asserting that he had been terminated from the company "with cause."
Since then, Concepcion established Stratos Wealth Partners in 2009, a wealth management firm based in Solon, Ohio, that's affiliated with LPL Financial LLC.