Planners boost big bank’s profit

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Westpac Group announced a 14% net profit increase, up to $6,816 million, thanks in no small part to its expanding adviser network.

BTFG, Westpac’s wealth and insurance division, increased cash earnings by 13% from last year, to $737m.

While expanding its distribution network and investing in platform technology drove expenses up $5 million, the bank was rewarded with a 13% increase in advice income, up $32m.

A focus on targeted segments meant that revenue per financial planner went up 16%.

Bucking the industry-wide trend, BTFG delivered a strong result in insurance business, with a 14% rise in Life in-force premiums.

The time taken to complete the BT’s Super for Life application was reduced to 60 seconds, and the time taken to process life insurance applications was reduced by 18%.

“I am particularly pleased that all of our operating divisions and brands contributed positively to the result,” said Westpac Group CEO Gail Kelly. “It demonstrates the quality of the performance, with cash and core earnings up across the board.”

Kelly said that taking a portfolio approach to Westpac’s banking and wealth businesses in Australia meant higher revenue and lower costs.

“The spring season is already seeing momentum accelerate, and our portfolio of brands is well positioned to benefit from this.”

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