Westpac restructures SMSF services, exits advice
Westpac Group has announced that it will be moving its superannuation and SMSF services to its business division and exiting financial advice as part of a major restructure to its wealth businesses.
In an ASX statement released this week, Westpac Group announced that it would be realigning its major BT Financial Group businesses into the consumer and business divisions. While the major bank said that it will continue to invest in the BT brand, BT Financial Group will no longer be a stand-alone division.
Westpac also announced that it is exiting the provision of personal financial advice by Westpac Group salaried financial advisers and authorised representatives.
Westpac said that it will be moving to a referral model for financial advice which will utilise a panel of advisers or adviser firms.
The ASX statement said that Westpac has entered into a sale agreement with Viridian Advisory. A number of the group’s salaried financial advisers and support staff will transition to Viridian from the anticipated completion date of 30 June 2019.
Westpac chief executive Brian Hartzer said the sale of BTFG’s financial advice business reflects the changing external environment, including a “trend by financial advisers to operate independently or in small advisory groups”.
Under the sale offer, Viridian Advisory will offer employment to around 175 BT Financial Advice (BTFA) salaried advisers and other management and support staff.
Viridian Advisory will also commence supporting many ongoing advice customers who consent to transition from the anticipated completion date of 30 June 2019.
BT Group licensees currently operating under the Securitor and Magnitude brands will be assisted in moving to self-licensing or other licensees.
In terms of the restructure of its BT Financial Group businesses, Westpac said that its private wealth, platforms and investments, and superannuation businesses will move into the business division, while the insurance business will move into the consumer division.
“Moving private wealth into the business division recognises that many of our high-net-worth customers have their own businesses or work for many of the companies we bank,” Mr Hartzer said.
“Following our significant investment in Panorama and the launch of BT Open Services, we now have market-leading platforms where the natural customer base is also primarily found in our business division.
“Similarly, superannuation — including corporate superannuation and support for SMSFs — is strongly linked to our business division.”