25 September 2017

Commonwealth Bank to Exit Another Wealth Management Business

Published by Finews.asia – 25th Sep 2017

Following a week where it sold CommInsure to AIA then announced a review of its asset management unit, is Australia’s largest bank about sell again?

There is strong belief that Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) is about put up the for sale sign on its financial planning businesses Count Financial and Financial Wisdom.

CBA bought Count Financial in August 2011 for $373 million, creating one of the biggest financial planning forces in the country and Australia’s largest network of accounting based advisory firms. Earlier this year finews.asia reported that its its chief executive, David Lane, who had been running the business since its purchase by CBA, decided to jump ship to Perpetual.

Wealth Management Weakness

CBA recently appointed a replacement, plucked from the bank’s specialist home and mobile lending business, with a lesser title of general manager. Well placed sources according to «The Sydney Morning Herald» say Count has been a disappointment and that a clean up, including impairments is inevitable.

Michael Venter, who has been elevated to take charge of CBA’s wealth division after Annabel Spring announced her departure, will be responsible for the future of the financial planning operations. He has a lot on his plate.

Driven by Competition

The dilution of the CBA’s wealth management division is being driven by competition, regulation and under-performance. The recent money laundering scandal which spread to Asian jurisdictions has not helped. It is also driven by the realisation that banks do not need to manufacture products to generate revenue from them.