March 19, 2019
Westpac Group has announced it will remove itself from the provision of personal financial advice.
This decision forms part of a broader strategy shift announced by Westpac this week, which sees its BT Financial Group businesses, including BT Life Insurance, absorbed by the bank’s Consumer and Business divisions.
According to a statement released by the bank, key elements in this restructure include:
- Exiting the provision of personal financial advice by Westpac Group salaried financial advisers and authorised representatives
- Moving to a referral model for financial advice by utilising a panel of advisers or adviser firms
- Entering into a sale agreement as part of the exit with Viridian Advisory, which will see many BT Financial Advice ongoing advice customers offered an opportunity to transfer to Viridian
In relation to the sale agreement with Viridian, Westpac notes the advice firm will offer employment from 30 June 2019 to around 175 BT Financial Advice salaried advisers and other management and support staff. It says some authorised representatives from BTFG’s Securitor and Magnitude licensee firms may also move to Viridian by 30 September 2019.
Viridian …intends to acquire both the Securitor and Magnitude brands
In a separate release by Viridian Advisory, it states it intends to acquire both the Securitor and Magnitude brands under its new distribution model, subject to finalising terms with Westpac.
Commenting on its exit from ‘face-to-face’ personal financial advice, Westpac Group Chief Executive, Brian Hartzer, said this move “…reflects the changing external environment, including a trend by financial advisers to operate independently, or in smaller advisory groups.”
As part of the restructure, Westpac advises its life insurance business will move into its Consumer division, which the bank says will make it easier to meet the insurance needs of its retail customers.
Westpac advises its expanded Consumer division will be led by its current Business Bank Chief Executive, David Lindberg.
Meanwhile, BTFG’s Private Wealth, Platforms & Investments and Superannuation businesses will move into an expanded Westpac Business division.
In this week’s announcement, the bank has also advised BTFG CEO, Brad Cooper, will play a role in the transition of BT’s businesses into their new divisions, following which it says Cooper has indicated that he will leave to seek a new leadership role outside the Group.