Westpac slapped with $9m penalty over poor advice

Original article by Aleks Vickovich
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 20 : 20-Dec-19

Westpac has been ordered to pay a total of $9.15m for 22 breaches of the Corporations Act. The bank was found to be liable for the ‘deficient and defective’ financial advice that ex-employee Sudhir Sinha provided in 2013 and 2014. Sinha was deemed to have failed to act in the best interests of his clients by providing financial advice that was inappropriate for their personal circumstances. The Australian Securities & Investments Commission has banned Sinha from working in the industry for five years, while it launched legal action against Westpac in 2018.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA

Financial advisers too expensive and can’t be trusted: report

Original article by Duncan Hughes
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 2 : 27-Aug-19

The Australian Securities & Investments Commission has released the findings of a survey on consumers’ attitudes toward the financial advice sector. It shows that there is a high level of distrust regarding the sector; amongst other things, about 50 per cent of respondents believe that financial advisers are more concerned about making themselves rich than helping clients, while almost 30 per cent prefer to obtain financial advice from family members, friends or colleagues. The ASIC report is based on interviews with almost 2,500 investors.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP

AMP accused of leaving planners in limbo

Original article by Joyce Moullakis
The Australian – Page: 12 : 20-Aug-19

The Finance Sector Union will ask the Fair Work Commission to intervene over AMP’s plans to revamp its financial planning operations. AMP has indicated that it intends to reduce the amount it pays when acquiring financial planning practices as a ‘buyer of last resort’, as well as cutting adviser numbers. The AMP Financial Planners Association will hold a meeting during August to allow members to vote on possible courses of legal action against AMP.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, FINANCE SECTOR UNION, AUSTRALIA. FAIR WORK COMMISSION, AMP FINANCIAL PLANNERS ASSOCIATION

Australians embracing robo-advisers

Original article by Luke Housego
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 20 : 23-Apr-19

A survey of more than 1,000 Australians has found that 30 per cent would be willing to receive financial advice from ‘robo-advisers’. The survey was commissioned by consulting firm Thinque, with company founder Anders Sorman-Nilsson suggesting that consumers have become less willing to trust human financial advisers as a result of the banking royal commission. Around 80 per cent of respondents stated that financial services is the sector in which they are most worried about digital fraud.

CORPORATES
THINQUE, IRESS WEALTH MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS (RSA) PTY LTD, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY

Boutique and robo models the new face of financial advice

Original article by James Eyers, Elouise Fowler
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 17 : 21-Mar-19

Westpac CEO Brian Hartzer expects banks to focus on using automated solutions to provide personal financial advice in future, due to the high cost of providing such services. Hamilton Wealth CEO Will Hamilton agrees that so-called robo-advice may be the only option for banks if they are to continue to offer financial advice on a large scale. Hartzer adds that consumers will still be able to pay for bespoke personal finance advice via boutique firms.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, HAMILTON WEALTH MANAGEMENT PTY LTD, VIRIDIAN ADVISORY PTY LTD, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY, BT FINANCIAL GROUP PTY LTD, KORDA CAPITAL, SIX PARK

Westpac retreats from financial advice

Original article by James Frost
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 1 & 16 : 20-Mar-19

Westpac will cease serving its existing personal financial advice customers at the end of June, after striking a deal with Viridian to exit the sector. Westpac CEO Brian Hartzer concedes that its personal finance advice business has not been profitable for some time, and increased regulation was a major factor in its decision to withdraw from the sector. Westpac faces restructuring costs of $250m to $300m, while about 900 full-time equivalent employees will be impacted by the decision to exit financial advice. Westpac expects the move to result in annual savings of $280m by 2020.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, VIRIDIAN ADVISORY PTY LTD

Finance Royal Commission likely to disrupt distribution of financial products

Original article by Roy Morgan
Market Research Update – Page: Online : 8-Feb-19

Financial intermediaries (including mortgage brokers and financial planners) currently account for the distribution of 35% of the total value of the major financial products. A number of the recommendations of the Financial Services Royal Commission relate to mortgage brokers and financial planners and if adopted, are likely to negatively impact their usage, particularly as it relates to borrowers rather than the lenders paying fees. Financial planners are also likely to be impacted by the need for greater fee disclosure, clarification of independence, improved focus on the best interests of the customer and the need to provide service for any fee involved. These are some of the latest findings from Roy Morgan’s Single Source survey in the 12 months to August 2018, which is based on in-depth interviews conducted face-to-face with over 50,000 consumers per annum in their homes, including detailed questioning across all aspects of investing, borrowing, insurance and banking.

CORPORATES
ROY MORGAN LIMITED, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY

Murray in the crosshairs as battered AMP faces shareholder revolt

Original article by Joyce Moullakis, Ben Butler
The Australian – Page: 15 & 18 : 23-Jan-19

AMP could face a board spill at its 2019 annual meeting under the ‘two strikes’ regime, after more than 61 per cent of votes cast at the 2018 meeting rejected its remuneration report. The election of chairman David Murray is also uncertain, with at least two institutional investors said to be planning to vote against the resolution. They include Hamish Carlisle of Merlon Capital Partners, who opposes the election of Murray and non-executive director John O’Sullivan.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, MERLON CAPITAL PARTNERS PTY LTD, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY, RESOLUTION LIFE GROUP LIMITED, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, CREDIT SUISSE (AUSTRALIA) LIMITED, AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL OF SUPERANNUATION INVESTORS INCORPORATED, ABERDEEN ASSET MANAGEMENT LIMITED, IOOF HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX IFL, AUSTRALIAN ETHICAL INVESTMENT LIMITED – ASX AEF, AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY, FEDERAL COURT OF AUSTRALIA

AMP CEO De Ferrari won’t get a new life insurance deal

Original article by Misa Han
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 15 : 6-Dec-18

Merlon Capital is among the AMP shareholders that oppose the sale of its life insurance business. However, AMP CEO Francesco De Ferrari says the $3.3bn deal will proceed, arguing that the wealth manager lacks the global scale to compete with much larger international rivals in the life insurance sector. De Ferrari has also expressed support for AMP’s vertically integrated business model, but says this will be unwound if the final report of the financial services commission recommends it.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY, CREDIT SUISSE AG, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, MERLON CAPITAL PARTNERS PTY LTD

Westpac not wedded to advice arm

Original article by Joyce Moullakis
The Australian – Page: 17 & 21 : 6-Nov-18

Westpac has posted a cash profit of $8.07bn for the year o 30 September, which is in line with the previous financial year. Its consumer banking division’s earnings were flat, although its business banking arm performed well. Meanwhile, CEO Brian Hartzer says Westpac remains committed to its BT Financial division, although he says the bank may be willing to consider divesting its in-house financial planning business. Westpac boasted 803 salaried and aligned financial planners at the end of the financial year.

CORPORATES
WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, BT FINANCIAL GROUP PTY LTD, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, MLC LIMITED, IOOF HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX IFL, SWITZER DIVIDEND GROWTH FUND (MANAGED FUND) – ASX SWT, MORGAN STANLEY AUSTRALIA LIMITED