Big four bank weighs wealth shake-up

One of Australia’s big four banks has revealed it is considering a shakeup of its wealth division in order to simplify its business.

As Westpac announced its half-year result, it also revealed that it was transferring its wealth platforms, superannuation and retirement products, investments, and general and life insurances to a ‘Specialist Business Division’.

“We have several businesses where we don’t have sufficient scale or where the returns are insufficient for the risk,” said CEO Peter King, adding that some of the businesses “may ultimately be more successful under different ownership”.

Jason Yetton has been appointed chief executive for specialists businesses, and will commence the new role on 18 May 2020.

“Jason is a proven executive who held senior positions at Westpac for many years, including Group Executive, Westpac Retail & Business Banking and General Manager, BT Customer Solutions, and was most recently an executive at CBA,” Mr King said.

The Westpac Pacific business will also be managed in this division to “simplify the institutional bank portfolio”.

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Westpac’s net profit was $1.190 billion at the half year, a decrease of $1.983 million (62 per cent) compared to first half 2019. The fall was due to a significant increase in impairment charges due to the expected impacts of COVID-19, costs associated with AUSTRAC proceedings, and the impact of costs related to remediation and litigation.

Westpac announced an impairment charge of $2.2 billion and followed ANZ’s lead by deferring a decision on its dividend.

Big four bank weighs wealth shake-up
Westpac
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