11/12/2007 - 10:56

BankWest to launch financial planning arm

11/12/2007 - 10:56


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HBOS subsidiary BankWest will launch a financial planning arm in March next year with plans to recruit more than 100 financial advisers over the next three years.

BankWest to launch financial planning arm

HBOS subsidiary BankWest will launch a financial planning arm in March next year with plans to recruit more than 100 financial advisers over the next three years.

Effective from 1 March 2008, BankWest customers will have access to full financial planning advice along the value-for-money model used for its retail banking products.

More than 100 advisers will be recruited to provide financial planning in both existing stores and the new east coast stores that are opening across the eastern seaboard.

Making the announcement, Ian Corfield BankWest Retail Chief Executive, said BankWest was determined to continue to grow its business by helping ordinary every day Australians make the most of their hard-earned cash.

"Our goal is to make financial products and advice more accessible and cost-effective, he said.

"We have conducted research that shows that 72 per cent of Australians don't have access to a financial adviser .

"Higher income earners are more likely to have an adviser, suggesting that many Australians on lower or middle-incomes are missing out on opportunities to build their wealth, arguably those who need to stretch their dollars furthest.

"We intend to grow our business in this market segment, amongst those who require simple, cost-effective financial planning to help them grow their wealth."

BankWest will make available a suite of investment and insurance products in its branches, including many products that are suited to those with simple advice requirements, with a view to capturing a currently under-catered for part of the market.

Mr Corfield said that employing the right people to service its customers was crucial and BankWest is commencing an aggressive recruitment strategy to bring on board more than 100 advisers in the next three years.

BankWest recently commenced rolling out the biggest branch network ever started from scratch in Australia and intends to have a financial adviser in every branch.

"We will be recruiting very aggressively starting immediately and will be looking for sales-focussed individuals who like and understand people and will not make customers who have never seen an adviser before feel intimidated," he said.

"In return, advisers will have the opportunity to be part of a dynamic and rapidly growing organisation with the benefit of a proven and effective referral model and competitive salaries and incentives."

Growing its bancassurance capability is a key component of the broader HBOS Australia strategy.

St Andrew's Acting Managing Director Paul Northey said St Andrew's, HBOS Australia's wealth management division, will also continue to expand and grow its financial advice businesses focussing on offering customers a full advice solution with a capability to meet complex advice requirements and overall wealth management needs .

St Andrew's Wealth Management, which currently has over $2.5 bn under advice and 65 financial advisers will provide financial advice solutions to BankWest business and Private Banking customers as well as to RACV members through its exclusive alliance and will continue to expand Whittaker Macnaught which it acquired in February 2007.

Mr Northey said St Andrew's had aggressive growth targets and would also be recruiting aggressively in 2008.

"The launch of a retail-focussed financial planning capability through BankWest running alongside our existing financial planning businesses delivers a proposition which provides advice and funds management solutions to all customer segments," he said.

St Andrew's will build and deliver the infrastructure to support all advice models and segments such as paraplanning, technical and research, compliance, training and other areas to allow the group to leverage its expertise in the most cost-effective manner and also expects to increase its focus on funds management and product development looking forward.

HBOS Australia has a strategy to grow and to become a major force in Australian financial services utilising a multi-brand strategy.

In BRW's 2007 Top 1000 companies, HBOS Australia ranked number 39, up from 55 in the previous year.



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