Major announces business restructure

by Madison Utley19 Mar 2019

Westpac has announced changes to the way it addresses customers’ wealth and insurance needs.

Westpac chief executive, Brian Hartzer, said: “We are committed to supporting our customers’ insurance, investment and superannuation needs as part of our service strategy. The changes we’re announcing today are about focusing our investment where we have genuine competitive advantage and growth opportunities.”

The group says the changes reflect its commitment to supporting customers through their financial lives, while responding to the changing external environment.

In summary the group is:

• Realigning its major BT Financial Group (BTFG) businesses into the Consumer and Business divisions

• 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. A number of the group’s salaried financial advisers and support staff will transition to Viridian from the anticipated completion date of 30 June 2019. Some authorised representatives may also move to Viridian by 30 September 2019

• Simplifying the group’s structure and re-organising group executive responsibilities

• Continuing to invest in the BT brand, reflecting its strength and market position, although BTFG will no longer be a standalone division

• Unlocking value by exiting a high cost, loss-making business. Westpac says it expect the costs associated with exiting and restructuring will be offset by future cost savings.

 

The announcement also comes with a re-organisation of group executive responsibilities. The consumer division will be led by the current business bank chief executive, David Lindberg.

GM commercial banking, Alastair Welsh, will lead the business division on an acting basis, while a global executive search is conducted for Lindberg’s replacement.

Consumer bank chief executive, George Frazis, will leave Westpac to pursue other leadership opportunities.

Brad Cooper will stay on to ensure the successful transition of BT’s businesses into their new divisions, following which Cooper has indicated that he will leave to seek a new leadership role outside the group.