Westpac has selected 12 of its planners to pilot a financial planning ‘development program’ designed to retain advisers in a tight employment market.

Planners taking part in the program would still be “badged” as Westpac advisers but allowed to determine certain practice operations and recruit advisers while still accessing Westpac services such as the bank’s para-planning unit and administrative centre, Sally Herman, Westpac general manager advice, said. “We wanted to retain financial planners, [and] it has attracted people to us,” Herman said. Twelve Westpac advisers have been selected for the pilot and are currently working in metropolitan and regional areas across the country. If successful, a formal development program could be rolled out in October. Under the pilot arrangement, income is shared between each practice and Westpac. While Herman could not be drawn on details of remuneration structures, she said the planners would earn “a greater level of revenue in the partnership because they are taking on more risk”. She said planners within the pilot could be seen as operating in the space between those closely tied to Westpac and advisers working within Magnitude, the bank’s dealer group. “They said we were holding them back from developing customer relationships…It’s the balance between the independence of Magnitude and support of Westpac.”; She said the partnership allowed tied planners to be “;more entrepreneurial”;. Planners undertaking the program could feasibly leave the bank channel to establish practices within Magnitude. Herman said planners undertaking the program would be asked to prove their capabilities. “We require them to pull together a business case.”

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