CBA to close Whittaker Macnaught licence

Commonwealth Bank Wealth Management Advice will close the licence of 28-adviser group Whittaker Macnaught, effective 30 June.

The Queensland-based advice business was acquired via CBA’s acquisition of BankWest in 2008. Following a recent strategic review, which also resulted in changes to adviser remuneration in the Commonwealth Financial Planning channels, the bank determined to close the group’s Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL).

Advisers will have the option of setting up their own practices under the bank’s Financial Wisdom dealer group, and those who choose to do so will be offered support in making the transition. Advisers will be able to continue using the Whittaker Macnaught brand during the transition.

The group has around $1.1 billion in funds under advice and around 9,600 customers who will be moved across to Financial Wisdom. Some existing Financial Wisdom practices will be offered the opportunity to expand their practice to service those customers.

The bank said it expects to have a final position on the establishment of new and expansion of existing Financial Wisdom practices by late May.

“Whittaker Macnaught currently operates under its own AFSL, which requires discrete management, governance and operational structures,” said Pauline McFarlane, head of specialist licensees for Commonwealth Bank, Wealth Management Advice.

“When this model was viewed in the context of all of Commonwealth Bank Wealth Management Advice licensees, it was clear this was not the most commercially viable way to deliver quality advice to Whittaker Macnaught customers in the long term.”

McFarlane said it makes better commercial sense to move existing Whittaker Macnaught customers from that licence to practices authorised under the Financial Wisdom AFSL.

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