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Oregon Shares In VA Echange Settlement

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The Oregon Division of Insurance has signed on to a national variable annuity settlement agreement involving Waddell & Reed Financial Inc.[@@]

Waddell & Reed, Overland Park, Kan., agreed to the national settlement in April to resolve a dispute over allegations that it improperly switched VA clients from United Investors Life Insurance Company, a life insurance unit of Torchmark Corp., Birmingham, Ala., to VA contracts issued by another insurer in 2001 and 2002.

Waddell & Reed made the exchanges while carrying out plans to distance itself from Torchmark, its former corporate parent.

The switch affected about 400 Oregon investors, the Oregon insurance division estimates.

Officials at the National Association of Securities Dealers, Washington, and state insurance and securities agencies say the exchanges forced Waddell & Reed customers to pay a total of about $11 million in surrender charges.

Waddell & Reed has denied any wrongdoing.

In addition to agreeing to pay customers $11 million, Waddell & Reed has agreed to pay a $5 million fine to the NASD and another $2 million to a consortium of states that investigated it.

Oregon’s share of the fine was $78,140.

About 3 weeks ago, the Massachusetts secretary of state accepted the settlement agreement on behalf of 60 Waddell & Reed clients in Massachusetts. The Massachusetts securities and insurance divisions split $29,000 in Waddell & Reed civil penalty payments.