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BT: Focus on wealth important

Wealth is a key investment priority for Westpac Group and customers will benefit from better integration of their investment and banking needs, BT Financial Group says.

Monday, February 17th 2014, 6:00AM

by Susan Edmunds

BT is a division of Westpac Banking Corporation, with operations in New Zealand and Australia.

BT generates 10% of Westpac Group’s cash earnings. Private wealth is responsible for about 12% of BT’s revenue.

For the 2013 financial year, BT posted revenue growth of 10% and FUM growth of 35%. Cash earnings were up 13% to $737 million.

Advice new business revenue was up 19%, driven by improved productivity and an increase in planner footprint - BT said it had sector-leading revenue per salaried planner.

But BT chief executive Brad Cooper said the group saw significant value in aligning banking and wealth.

It was well positioned for success over the coming year, with a new wealth administration platform, a firm focus on life insurance sales and on carving out a position as an industry leader in the private wealth business, he said.

Cooper said growth in Australian supper assets was expected to continue to outpace the growth of the real economy and the population, who was living and working longer, would retire more affluently. High-net-worth investors sentiment had improved sharply over the past two years.

He said financial advice was only accessed by about 20% of Australians but technology was improving that statistic.

BT’s new online and mobile platform would be another step towards integrating wealth and banking needs, he said. The platform would be used by customers and advisers.

BT last year released a NextGen platform aimed at accountants and the investment version is the next step.

BT would put an increasing focus on the sale of life insurance to existing customers, Cooper said. At the moment it represents 55% of BT’s insurance cash earnings. But the group had identified significant opportunity for growth.

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