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Former NAB-aligned adviser banned after ASIC probe

ASIC has banned Alfie Chong, a financial adviser and former representative of Meritum Financial Group, from providing financial advice for five years, citing a range of conduct and disclosure issues, including deceptive conduct.

ASIC reviewed a sample of Mr Chong's advice as part of a probe of advice across ten licensees in relation to complex retail structured products.This review identified a range of conduct or disclosure concerns around the marketing and advice on these products across the licensees in the sample.

In February this year ten licensees have made changes to operations after being found guilty of providing "deficient" complex product advice, with a mixture of bank-aligned and independently-owned firms named.

An ASIC document revealed that at least three Meritum advisers whose authorisation was removed at the time were involved in “systemic breaches”.

In its review of Mr Chong's advice and compliance record, ASIC found that he had provided inappropriate advice; failed to determine clients' relevant personal circumstances or failed to conduct reasonable investigations into the subject matter of his advice; engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct in relation to a client signature that was copied and pasted on to an authority to proceed form; provided personal advice without giving clients a statement of advice (SOA); failed to provide sufficient detail about the basis on which the advice was given; and arranged for clients to implement advice and transactions before providing clients with an SOA.

Mr Chong was a representative of Meritum from 16 September 2005 to 28 March 2006 and from 20 July 2007 until 9 June 2014.

The banning will be recorded on ASIC's register of financial advisers. Mr Chong has the right to appeal to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal for a review of ASIC's decision.