When perceptions of history weigh more than gold

Outsider was among those who were somewhat surprised that the Commonwealth Bank opted to close down the Financial Wisdom license rather than sell it.

You see, Outsider had heard tell that CommBank had received more than a few expressions of interest in acquiring the FinWis business, particularly from those who had become familiar with the terms of the CountPlus acquisition of Count Financial.

Indeed, word on the street was that at least some of that interest was being expressed by someone who had headed up FinWis but exited before the issues which gave rise to

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CommBank’s ongoing advice remediation challenge became public.

It is always difficult to second-guess the decisions taken by the boards of major banks, but it seems that when it comes to disposing of assets, the optics and resultant public perceptions carry great weight.

It seems that on a multi-billion dollar balance sheet, foregoing the value that might be extracted from selling an aligned dealer group is relatively inconsequential.

In other words, the Commonwealth Bank board clearly had an eye to history when it decided on closure of the FinWis license rather than a sale. 

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