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WestpacTrust on the turn

WestpacTrust decides to stick with the fund management business.

Sunday, March 15th 1998, 12:00AM

by Philip Macalister

WestpacTrust has completed a review of its fund management operation and has decided it's a business it wants to remain involved in.
WestpacTrust Investment Management general manager Girol Karacaoglu says ever since he took over in 1996 a cloud had been hanging over the organisation.
That cloud had now been lifted.
WestpacTrust is "not only very serious about being a financial services organisation, but also a fund manger for the wholesale and financial planning markets as well as for the bank," Karacaoglu says.

He says the first two phases of a three phase restructuring have been completed and the business was now focussed on the third, which involved its funds achieving above benchmark investment returns.
His aim was not to have the best performing funds in each sector, rather he wants them to "sit comfortably in the upper half of the pack."
"I don't want to be number one," Karacaoglu says.
Westpac would continue to offer investors core products, "not sexy ones," offering "consistent, albeit moderate value," he says.
Some of its funds have shown improved investment performance lately due to changes made, Karacaoglu says, but there is still room for further improvement.
New Zealand shares remain a weak link in the chain.
In a bid to get better performance Westpac had contracted management of its international bonds and international equities offshore to Salomon Brothers Asset Management and SBC Brinson respectively.
Karacaoglu says this will add cost to the funds, however fees won't be increased.
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