Profits have picked up for NAB’s struggling wealth arm as the bank looks towards its sale to IOOF later this year.
Profit results for MLC, listed in NAB’s discontinued operations as part of its half-year results, revealed that the group had achieved a profit before tax of $66 million for the six months to March 2021, up from $32 million the previous half.
The group reported cash earnings of $56 million after tax in the six months to March, up from $20 million in the six months to September 2020. Average funds under administration also rose to around $120.5 billion, up from $111.8 billion in the previous half.
However the net loss related to MLC Wealth specifically was $34 million for the first half, an improvement from $573 million in the previous half and $331 million in the prior corresponding period.
MLC’s life insurance arm, part-owned by Japanese insurer Nippon Life, also recorded a modest profit of $14 million for the first half, down from $63 million the previous half.
Overall, NAB saw profits rise as credit impairment charges dropped precipitously opted to double its dividend as a result.
The bank reported a first-half statutory profit of $3.28 billion and announced it would pay an interim dividend of 60 cents a share off the back of a stronger-than-expected economic recovery, “record high business conditions”, and a resilient customer base.
“Our 1H21 result reflects the improving conditions, with cash earnings 35.1 per cent higher compared with 1H20…benefiting from significantly better credit impairment outcomes,” said chief executive Ross McEwan.
“Against this improving economic backdrop, there is growing momentum across our bank reflecting our investment in key strategic priority areas. While there is still much to do, we are progressing our ambition to deliver better outcomes for customers and colleagues.”
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