The scuttlebutt had been in the industry for weeks, but Outsider still noted the element of surprise when Westpac announced that it was largely getting out of personal advice by salaried and aligned planners and flogging off its operations to Viridian Advisory.
There had, of course, been talk of Westpac being in discussions with Viridian but there were two questions which a lot of Outsider’s contacts kept asking him: “Who the hell are Viridian?” and “how much did they pay?”.
Of course, elsewhere in this edition, Money Management explains a bit more about Viridian but at the time of writing Outsider still doesn’t know how much the Melbourne-based mob lobbed up to get a hold of the Westpac and BT businesses.
Indeed, Outsider undertook a quick check of the most recent Money Management Top 100 financial planning groups data and came up empty, so he figures that with only about 30 planners in 2018 spread across offices in Melbourne, Warragul, Leongatha, Sydney, Subiaco and Burnie they failed to make the cut.
It is a pretty fair bet that with all the Westpac and BT planners onboarded, Viridian will comfortably make the Top 100 this year.
Which still leaves Outsider and his curious mates wondering the value of the Westpac/Viridian transaction which, given the alacrity with which the big four banks are moving to exit wealth, is either a poultice or a peppercorn.