A Florida-based advisor will pay $1.2 million to settle Securities and Exchange Commission claims that he cherry-picked trades to boost his personal portfolio at clients’ expense.

An attorney for advisor Scott Brander on Tuesday filed a consent in which Brander agreed to pay $1,181,965.83 to resolve an SEC complaint pending in New Jersey federal court.

The SEC’s allegations address a period spanning January 2012 to June 2017, during which time Brander worked in the Florida office of Buckman Buckman & Reid, a broker-dealer subsidiary of Little Silver, New Jersey-based Buckman Advisory Group.

According to the SEC’s complaint, Brander regularly purchased securities in block trades for clients, his personal account and a personal account shared with his wife. The regulator says that Brander often delayed specifying how the traded shares would be allocated, sometimes waiting hours or even until the next day before deciding whether to assign shares to a client’s account or one of his.

According to the SEC, 90% of positive-performing trades landed in one of Brander’s personal accounts, while only about 30% of negative-performing trades did. Meanwhile, he steered some 70% of negative trades to clients’ accounts, while letting them benefit from merely 10% of positive trades.

Moreover, the SEC says that trades steered toward Brander’s personal accounts showed an average first-day gain of 1.84%, while clients’ allocations were in the red in the first day, generally down by about 3.24%. The chances of those results having been reached without cherry-picking was “less than one in a million,” the SEC said.

The SEC further alleged that Brander often used highly leveraged exchange-traded funds in his allocations, despite the funds carrying warnings regarding their riskiness and despite clients having expressed a preference for a conservative or moderately risky investment style.

Brander did not admit or deny the allegations. In his consent, dated August 8 of this year, he agreed to pay a civil penalty in the amount of $200,000, disgorgement in the amount of $812,876 and prejudgment interest in the amount of $169,089.83.

The SEC also reported that it has settled related claims against Buckman Advisory Group and its CEO, Harry Buckman Jr. The firm agreed to pay $400,000, and Harry Buckman agreed to pay $75,000. Neither the firm nor Brander’s attorney responded to requests for comment this week.

Brander left Buckman Advisory Group in 2021, well after the SEC had launched its investigation against him. His BrokerCheck record indicates that he is not currently affiliated with any other firm. The record also indicates that he previously agreed to monetarily settle three other customer disputes, that a fourth dispute resulted in an arbitration award against him, and that he also was involved in a disciplinary proceeding in Utah in 2000.