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Westpac takes long-term view

WESTPAC head of media relations David Lording answered the following questions posed by Business News this week.

1) Is WBC comfortable with its investment in Hartleys?

Westpac takes a long-term view of its investments. It has been only about 18 weeks since we completed on our investment (completion was on October 31 2001).

2) Has the fall in share price since Westpac’s acquisition been of significant concern to Westpac management?

Westpac constantly monitors all its investments. In Hartley’s case the strategy is to grow the number of investment advisers from approximately 80 at present to about 200 to participate in expected industry consolidation. Obviously this will take time to achieve before it is providing optimum returns on the bank’s investment. Like all Westpac’s investments we take the long-term view.

3) Could you tell Business News the key reasons for the Hartleys investment and how you believe they are tracking to date?

Westpac has a strategy of making manageable investments in emerging business models to assist future growth. Hartleys has considerable activities in developing innovative outsourcing services, of which Westpac is the largest user. The range of wealth creation solutions, together with its association with one of North America’s largest and most successful financial institutions, the Royal Bank of Canada, supports our strategy for the investment.

Westpac and RBC will continue to assist Hartleys in achieving optimum results for customers, staff and shareholders.

4) Does the management of Hartleys have Westpac’s confidence?

Yes.

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