Big bank closes advice firm

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After reviewing its operations, Commonwealth Bank Wealth Management Advice has decided to close one of its Queensland-based advice businesses – Whittaker Macnaught.

Whittaker Macnaught was acquired by CBA in 2008 and has 28 advisers, serving approximately 9,600 clients and managing $1.1billion in FUA. The firm operates under its own AFSL, which “requires discrete management, governance and operational structures”, said CBA WM Advice head of specialist licensees Pauline McFarlane.

“When this model was viewed in the context of all of CBA WM Advice Licensees, it was clear this was not the most commercially viable way to deliver quality advice to Whittaker Macnaught customers in the long term.”

Given the size of the business, McFarlane said it made better commercial sense to move existing customers from the licence to practices authorised under the Financial Wisdom AFSL. Existing Financial Wisdom practices will be able to expand their business to manage the needs of current Whittaker Macnaught customers. Whittaker Macnaught advisers can also look into establishing their own Financial Wisdom practice, using the Whittaker Macnaught brand while they set up.

“After 30 June 2013, all Whittaker Macnaught clients will be serviced either through their existing Whittaker Macnaught adviser authorised under the Financial Wisdom AFSL or through an existing Financial Wisdom practice,” said McFarlane.