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WestpacTrust undoes ties

WestpacTrust Financial Services looks away from independent financial advisers towards its own customers.

Monday, October 26th 1998, 12:00AM

by Philip Macalister

WestpacTrust Financial Services (WFS) has decided to reduce its involvement with the independent financial advisory network so it can focus its efforts on the bank's customers.
General manager Girol Karacaoglu says the move is part of an overall strategy within the bank to focus its operations on its 1.3 million customers.
This means it will no longer be using the independent financial adviser network to distribute its products. The message from WestpacTrust to advisers is: 'we'll take your money, but we're not going to come chasing it'.

"It's totally untrue to say we are withdrawing from any market," Karacaoglu says. "However it is true to say our focus has shifted."
He says WFS will not be courting new business, however it will continue to look after existing clients, especially larger ones such as the Aegis master trust.
One of the ironies of this move is that WestpacTrust has a "definite desire" to gradually establish its own financial planning arm within the bank, a number of years after closing down such an operation.
The move in New Zealand though mirrors the bank's strategy in Australia. Across the Tasman the financial planning arm is a key plank in the bank's distribution network.
The other interesting twist is that the move away from the independent financial advisory network comes just as competitor ANZ Bank looks to enter that market.
Karacaoglu says WFS's move is perfectly consistent with the bank's philosophy that it should get things right for its own customers, and give them priority, before dealing with other people.
"When we have got that sorted out we will again start focussing on new business."
Good Returns understands, as a result of this move, about six people have been made redundant. However, a number of new appointments have been made. For details visit the people page.
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