Around half of the 1,046 financial planning practices which were operating under Westpac’s financial planning licenses between 2009 and 2015 are no longer doing so, according to evidence heard at the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.
Westpac chief executive, Brian Hartzer did not disagree with a suggestion by counsel assisting the commission, Michael Hodge QC, that Westpac had a total of 1,046 practices operating under its license during the period.
Hartzer also accepted that “about half of the practices that were operating under Westpac’s license have ceased to be authorised representatives of Westpac and are no longer with Westpac”.
The Westpac CEO said he was not aware of the precise numbers but knew it was a big number and then confirmed that Westpac was aware of suggestions of an “industry solution” to the fees for no service and client remediation challenge.
Hartzer said he was not certain that Westpac had been the first company to suggest an industry solution to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) but confirmed there had been industry discussion of the prospect.
He described the industry solution as being a common methodology for contacting customers across all bank business than authorised representatives and suggested that it might extend beyond bank-owned businesses to other licensees.