A FINRA arbitration panel has ordered LPL Financial to pay $630,000 to one of its former brokers for allegedly defaming him by sending letters to about 300 clients implying that he stole money.

The fine comes at a time when the stock of the country's largest independent broker-dealer has sunk by almost 50% since the end of last year and when a series of activist investors have purchased a substantial share of LPL stock.

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