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Investors told: Expect ‘ongoing challenges’ with one major bank

Westpac

The major banks are a popular investment option for Australians, but Morgan Stanley is warning of tough times ahead for one of the big four. 

Westpac Group’s wealth revenues could fall by hundreds of millions over the next two years, according to Morgan Stanley, following the bank’s restructure and exit from financial advice.

Morgan Stanley has forecast that Westpac’s wealth revenues will fall from more than $2 billion in FY18 to less than $1.7 billion in FY20, due largely to the non-recurrence of the $144 million Hastings exit fee and the loss of advice revenues.

The report downgraded the bank’s FY19 cash profit by around 2.5 per cent, due to exit and restructuring costs and a $100 million loss from wealth advice.

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The good news

Morgan Stanley has, however, upgraded its prediction for earnings per share by 0.5 per cent in FY20, citing the exit of the loss-making advice business.

Westpac had estimated it would save around $73 million by dropping the advice business and division.

“The exit from wealth advice is a logical response to the changing environment, but we expect ongoing challenges in the remaining wealth business,” Morgan Stanley noted.

Ongoing challenges

Challenges will include the effect of the royal commission’s recommendations on the cross-selling of insurance to banking customers and reduced vertical integration benefits without advice, the report said.

The analysis also eyed other potential impacts such as pricing cuts in the platform market, new technology platform players winning an outsized share of flows and industry super funds growing in both personal and corporate super.

The retained businesses accounted for around 9 per cent of group revenue in FY18, excluding one-off items.

The analysis also forecast Westpac will have accumulated $775 million in customer refunds, remediation and litigation costs across banking and wealth management over FY19 and FY20.

Investors told: Expect ‘ongoing challenges’ with one major bank
Westpac
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