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Macquarie advisers under investigation

Despite a formal end to the Macquarie Equities Limited enforceable undertaking, ASIC will investigate the bank’s advisers and client files for an additional 12 months.

Speaking at a press conference in Sydney on Friday, ASIC deputy chair Peter Kell reflected on the EU – which formally ceased on 29 January – revealing that while the EU achieved some of its objectives, the surveillance program is ongoing.

ASIC will be conducting investigations into MEL advisers, Mr Kell said, though he was somewhat reluctant to comment further on the matter.

In addition there will be a “12-month program of work” on the compliance front to test the procedures put in place during the EU process.

Macquarie will engage KPMG to undertake this surveillance, on top of the client compensation process which is still underway by Deloitte personnel.

Despite the ongoing work required, Mr Kell recognised there have been “major improvements to the [MEL] business”.

“There has been a major restructuring of MEL. There is new senior management, including the creation of new compliance positions,” he said.

“Around a quarter of the advisers in the firm have left, as well a range of staff from the original compliance area."

In addition, the compliance team no longer reports to the Macquarie Private Wealth executive team, he said.

“A range of improvements across the board mean the ability of the business to identify, act on and remedy risks and breaches has improved significantly,” Mr Kell said.

Mr Kell also denied the existence of a document allegedly revealing details of MEL financial advisers cheating on CPD examinations, dubbed by Fairfax journalists as the ‘Penske file’.

“There is no file, let me assure you, with big red letters written on it or anything like that,” he said.

“There will be no ‘Penske Files’ in the future.”