Customers will be the ultimate winners from Heritage Bank’s decision to sell its financial planning business, CEO Peter Lock said today.
Heritage has announced the sale of its financial planning business to Bridges Financial Services, one of Australia’s largest financial planning advisory firms, effective this month.
Heritage set up its in-house Financial Planning business in 2010, with a group of advisers based in south-east Queensland. Prior to that, Heritage offered financial planning services to customers via a referral model with Bridges.
Mr Lock said the decision to sell had two main drivers – the desire to give customers access to the best financial planning service possible, and the strategic drive to focus Heritage’s energies on its core banking activities.
“Our Financial Planning team did a great job in setting up the business, and in helping our customers protect their financial futures,” Mr Lock said.
“Financial planning is an important service for our customers, but it’s not really in our core business of retail lending, deposits and transactions. We faced a decision about what was in the best interests both of our customers and Heritage’s strategic goals.
“As Australia’s largest mutual bank, with a national presence, it makes sense to move to a financial planning provider like Bridges, which has a wider range of products and services, greater scale, and a national team of advisers.
“Our customers will actually get a better overall service through us aligning with Bridges.
“At the same time, we no longer have to deal with the risk and complexity of running a financial planning business, but can instead focus those energies on improving our core business.”
Heritage Bank will continue to provide financial planning services to its customers via a referral model to Bridges. This is a return to the same arrangement Heritage had in place with Bridges before 2010.
The sale will affect 20 staff members. Of those, 7 have already obtained roles at Bridges, while a further 6 remain in discussion with Bridges. Three staff will remain at Heritage in other roles, and 2 staff members have already obtained external roles.
Heritage has written to all its existing customers this week with details about the transition to Bridges. There will be little or no impacts for those customers, with many expected to continue receiving advice from the same financial planner, who will simply be working for Bridges instead of Heritage.
Nor will the transition mean any changes to their existing investments or portfolios.