The National Australia Bank may lose one of its key financial advice subsidiaries in the wake of the royal commission.
ifa understands that Godfrey Pembroke's leadership group is intending to leave the MLC network they joined in 1999 and set up as a non-bank dealer group under its own AFSL.
Separation from NAB has been an ongoing debate within the Godfrey Pembroke group in recent years, as member firms sought greater control over technology and APL decisions and sought to inoculate themselves against reputation damage stemming from big four bank scandals.
In 2016, two of Godfrey Pembroke’s more prominent authorised representatives, Hobart-based Collins SBA and multi-state firm Praescius, left the network to set up under their own AFSLs with the assistance of NAB’s Licensee Partnership Program.
The development prompted ifa to predict a broader Godfrey Pembroke exit and similar moves by other institutionally-owned dealer groups.
In a statement to ifa, NAB general manager, advice, Ross Barnwell stopped short of confirming a split but issued a statement indicating the bank will seek to work with Godfrey Pembroke practices into the future.
“I regularly speak to Godfrey Pembroke advisers, and I value the relationship we have with all of them, including the Practice Development Group,” he said.
“We believe customers and advisers rightfully place great value and trust in this network, and so does NAB"
Mr Barnwell added that the bank remains committed the various arms of its wealth management business.
“NAB equally values the relationship we have with advisers that choose to enjoy the institutional support we provide through our various advice models,” he said.
“We remain committed to ensuring customers have access to advice that meets their needs and continuing to improve the support we offer advisers in providing high quality advice services.”
The comments differ from the testimony of his boss, Andrew Hagger, who told the royal commission that institutional appetite for authorising advisers is waning as the “risk-return equation” has become less favourable.
Godfrey Pembroke was formed in 1995 by the merger of non-aligned firms Godfrey Weston and Pembroke Financial Planners. It joined the MLC network in 1999 ahead of the NAB acquisition in 2000. It has more than 130 authorised representatives.
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