About Us

We’re a financial advisory firm that works closely with clients based in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.


When you engage a financial planner, you’ll need to share sensitive personal information, and we absolutely respect this privilege.

In everything that we do for you, we’ll respect you, your privacy, and, most importantly, your right to sound financial advice, services and products.


You’ve worked hard your whole life to accomplish your goals and provide for your family.

Unfortunately, much of your hard work can come undone if the protection and management of your wealth is poorly planned.

In everything that we do, our aim is to safeguard your assets, your investments, and your future.


Our clients all have different needs and wants, but, generally, they come to us with a vision for better security, peace of mind, and quality of life.

Whatever your financial goals may be, Merit East can help evaluate your circumstances and develop a plan that moves you closer to fulfilling your vision for the future.

Why Did We Come Into the Office Today?

We exist to deliver solutions for your financial planning, investment and insurance needs, with specialist expertise in self-managed super funds (SMSFs).

Our objective is to provide you with informed and straightforward advice that will help you make sound financial decisions.

Our aim is to ensure that the decisions that you will make have a positive impact on your most precious assets: your family, your business, and your future.

Integration is the key. Succession, estate and superannuation planning all have tax considerations and are best delivered as part of an integrated plan and process. In coordination with your accountant, we’ll develop holistic solutions that ensure all bases are covered.

The Merit East team are also supported by the financial services professionals at Merit Wealth, whose extensive financial resources help us deliver the most impactful advice possible.    

You, your family,
your business, your future.

Our aim is to ensure that the decisions you make
have a positive impact on your most precious assets.

Meet Chris Burge and Darren Howard

As a team, we provide strategic investment advice and unique SMSF solutions to match our clients’ needs and deliver superior financial results.

Director / Financial Planner / SMSF Specialist

Chris Burge

BA Grad Dip FP CFP ASIC Adviser ID 1004502

Chris Burge is a certified financial planner with more than 15 years’ experience in the financial services industry.

Across his career, Chris has worked in a variety of advisory and managerial roles, specialising in structural, strategic, insurance and investment advice for self-managed super funds and trust clients, including philanthropic foundations.

Chris holds a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology), a Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning from FINSIA, a certificate in SMSFs from Adelaide University, and is a practicing member of the Financial Planning Association.

Director / Financial Planner / SMSF Specialist

Darren Howard

BA (EC) F Fin Grad Dip FP SSA ASIC Adviser ID 1004473

Darren Howard has been working in the financial sector since 1988.

He is an expert in SMSF technical and investment strategies, ensuring his clients receive maximum returns from their funds.

Darren holds a Bachelor of Arts (Economics) from UNSW, and a Graduate Diploma in Applied Finance and a Graduate Diploma in Investment and Financial Planning from FINSIA. He is a fellow of FINSIA and a qualified SMSF Specialist Adviser with the SMSF Association of Australia.


Finding Tony Hawkins and hiring him to help us work out our Retirement Plan was one of the best things we ever did in our life. We approached three other financial advisors who all could not help us and yet Tony Hawkins could see straight away what others could not and a way forward that he could help us with every step of the way.

Phil & Julie Client

We can’t say enough about the team at BACE Financial. Tony Hawkins and his very professional support in Melissa Wishart are just a credit to their business. I have been particularly impressed with the attention and time offered to us in the administration of our Financial package over the last 2.5 years. Having my retirement coming faster than I ever imagined, Tony has been a rock with support, opportunities and solutions for my next phase of my life. We have absolutely no problem recommending Tony and the team.

Narelle & Daryl Client

Tony was the guiding hand in dealing with our Insurance Claims, gave us advice and helped handle the claims until we were able to have not one but two of our insurance policies be approved for payouts. Tony and Melissa have been through so much with us now that we feel like they are family. We can never thank them enough for what they have done for us.xt

Phil & Julie Client

We were introduced to Tony Hawkins from BACE Financial through our Accountant, and we have developed a strong working relationship with him. Tony has given us sound financial advice and we have appreciated Tony’s attention to detail and his professional attitude. He is extremely knowledgeable in all matters pertaining to Finance. He is a good listener and wants to get the foremost outcome for you. He has substantial knowledge of many different Financial Products. He knows what to get involved in and explains why. He makes you feel like he is interested and concerned about your finances and getting the best results financially for you. Tony and his staff are readily accessible, they always make you feel important and we would not hesitate in recommending Tony Hawkins

Joanne & John Client

Tony and his team have been extremely helpful in all of my financial decisions. Their knowledge & experience have allowed them to guide me in some very crucial times and the outcomes of their strategic advice have ensured the sustainability of my finances. The results have been second to none and I couldn’t be happier.

Colin Smith Client