(Adds information about regulator’s new complaint vs. Sandlapper) Austin Dutton, the Doylestown broker who marketed real estate securities that promised attractive yields but sometimes proved difficult to market when the time came to sell, to clients including Philadelphia police officers and firefighters, is back in business: His office, Bridgeview Securities, has now joined South Carolina-based Sandlapper Securities.
Dutton separated from his past role as Pennsylvania broker for Florida-based Newbridge Securities in July after the Pennsylvania Securities Commission socked Newbridge with a record $499,000 fine for failing to “maintain a reasonable system for applying and enforcing written procedures” for derivative securities sales here from 2012-16.
After exiting Newbridge, Dutton was briefly affiliated with Tennessee-based Center Street Securities. The week after Newbridge was fined, Dutton faced his own record settlement, agreeing to pay Pennsylvania $200,000 after the state securities commission found he engaged in “dishonest or unethical practices in the securities business” by recommending an investment “without reasonable grounds to believe that the transaction or recommendation was suitable for the customer.” He left Center on Sept. 7, according to FINRA, the securities industry self-regulating group.
Dutton then announced his latest affiliation in a note to clients, in which he also described Sandlapper as a “fast-growing firm.”
Once an available investment personality who pitched his products in FOP publications, free dinner meetings, and on radio programs as an alternative to mainstream pensions and stock funds, Dutton declined to discuss the recent changes. Reached at his Doylestown office, he told me, “I can’t talk to you” and hung up. Officials at Sandlapper didn’t return calls.
UPDATE: On Sept. 29, Sandlapper and its two top executives, Trevor Lee Gordon and Jack Charles Bixler, were served with a disciplinary complaint by FINRA, which accused them of imposing $8 million in “fraudulent markups” on investors in saltwater fracking waste wells in Texas’ Permian Basin energy development region. The complaint was first reported by Bruce Kelly at InvestmentNews.