Pennsylvania Financial Advisor is Accused of Making Unsuitable Recommendations
Austin Richard Dutton, Jr., an American Trust Investment Services stockbroker, is currently the subject of a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) arbitration case. The self-regulatory organization (SRO) has made a preliminary determination to recommend disciplinary action against him. The Doylestown, PA financial advisor is accused of violating FINRA Rules 2111, 2010, and 4511.
FINRA announced its preliminary determination involving Dutton in March 2021. FINRA Rule 2111 has to do with suitability and requires broker-dealers and their registered representatives to only make recommendations that are suitable for each customer. Rule 2010 mandates that members abide by high standards of commercial honor and fair and equitable principles of trade. Rule 4511 requires FINRA members to make records and books and preserve them for at least six years.
Dutton, who has been a member of the industry for 25 years, has 23 customer disputes on his BrokerCheck. All but two of them were filed in 2017 or later.
Our broker misconduct attorneys are speaking with customers of this American Trust Investment Services broker to help them determine whether they have grounds for a FINRA arbitration claim. Contact us at Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas (SSEK Law Firm at investorlawyers.com) today.
Breach of Fiduciary, Misrepresentations, and Omissions Alleged
BrokerCheck shows that there is currently one pending customer dispute involving Dutton that was brought in June 2010. That investor claim alleges unsuitability, breach of contract, and breach of fiduciary duty.
Except for one customer claim from 2004 alleging misrepresentations that was closed due to lack of action, the other disputes have resulted in settlements. Many of these accuse Dutton of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, omissions, and unsuitability.
Several examples of the more than 20 settlements that are listed on Dutton’s BrokerCheck:
- January 2020: This unsuitability claim resulted in a $40,000 settlement.
- May 2019: A $52,500 settlement. This was a FINRA arbitration case involving alternative investments.
- August 2018: Involving structured products sales while Dutton was a Newbridge Securities broker, this claim was settled for $25K.
- July 2018: Alleging losses from real estate investment trusts (REITs), structured products, and corporate debts, this securities case was settled for $64,750. Again, Dutton was a Newbridge broker at the time.
- January 2018: Settled by Newbridge Securities, the claimant received a $95K settlement.
- May 2018: This unsuitability case was settled for $75,000.
In July 2017, the state of Pennsylvania ordered Austin Dutton to pay a $200,000 penalty after finding that the financial advisor recommended a security that was unsuitable for one customer. According to the Consent Agreement & Order, given the investor’s financial situation, investing goals, and other key information that Dutton knew about, the broker should have never recommended this investment to this investor.
Other brokerage firms where Dutton used to be registered, include:
- Sandlapper Wealth Management
- Sandlapper Securities
- Center Street Advisors
- Newbridge Financial Services
- Newbridge Securities
- Boenning & Scattergood
- Ferris, Baker Watts
- AG Edwards and Sons
- Prudential Securities (which allowed Dutton to resign in 1997)
Broker Misconduct Attorneys Can Recoup Investment Losses
If you were a customer of an American Trust Investment Services broker and believe that you suffered investment losses due to negligence or the recommendation of unsuitable investments, get in touch with our experienced legal team. We can help you recover your financial losses.
Our law firm has over 100 years of combined experience in the securities industry and has successfully represented thousands of investors in the United States and abroad. Call SSEK Law Firm at (800) 259-9010 to request your free, no-obligation case consultation.