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WestpacTrust Joins Major League - BT Acquisition

WestpacTrust Joins Wealth Management Major League with BT Financial Group Acquisition

WestpacTrust has been propelled into the wealth management major league with the announcement today that Westpac and Principal Financial Group have reached agreement on Westpac's acquisition of BT Financial Group's New Zealand and Australian operations for A$900 million (approximately NZ$1.048 billion).

With the acquisition, WestpacTrust becomes the sixth largest overall funds manager in New Zealand with more than $3.6 billion total funds under management.

Mike Pratt, Group Executive of Westpac's New Zealand and Pacific Operations, said the acquisition represented a significant step forward in WestpacTrust helping its customers achieve their wealth aspirations through the bank's wealth management strategy.

"The acquisition will provide WestpacTrust with a quantum leap in distribution capability and scale to deliver accelerated growth in wealth management," Mr Pratt said.

"BT's operations in New Zealand complement WestpacTrust's existing wealth management business, providing us with strong investment management capabilities, additional distribution relationships through the independent financial advisor network, and asset consultants to wholesale superannuation funds," Mr Pratt said.

BT will be retained as an investment management subsidiary of WestpacTrust under its own brand. Craig Stobo, currently chief executive officer of BT Funds Management New Zealand, will head the New Zealand wealth management business.

"BT has top-rate people and will continue to be a strong brand in New Zealand. Wealth management is critical to WestpacTrust's business. Our customers want an end-to-end wealth management service to help them grow and protect their wealth. This acquisition adds depth and breadth to our distribution channels strengthening our ability to provide wealth management services," Mr Pratt said.

The enhanced WestpacTrust wealth management operation will have:

· Approximately 75,000 customers;

· Access to over 1,500 independent financial advisors

· Over 700 in-house financial advisors and planners; and

· Over $3.6 billion retail funds under management

"For customers, the larger product range, extensive external and internal distribution capabilities, and proven client service model will deliver major benefits. Over time, it is also expected to generate significant strategic and financial benefits for WestpacTrust and its shareholders," Mr Pratt said.


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