Bendigo and Adelaide Bank will boost investment into its margin lending business Leveraged Equities (LE) in response to early stirrings in investor confidence.

LE will have its own place at the bank’s Executive table with the appointment of current Head of Wealth Markets, Alexandra Tullio, to a new Executive role beginning immediately.

BEN’s Managing Director, Mike Hirst, said the business had already moved to hire key senior staff charged with further enhancing LE’s reputation for high-touch service.

Mr Hirst said BEN had moved quickly to increase investment into LE as it sensed improvement in investor sentiment that it expects to flow through into increased borrowings.
"Leveraged Equities, has just completed a very successful campaign for customers who wish to prepay the interest on their loans," he said.

"The better than budgeted result underlines the strong position Leveraged Equities has in the margin lending sector and is a great reflection of the customer value proposition delivered every day by the staff and management within that business.

"Equally, the result highlights the fact that we may well have seen the bottom of the market for the margin lending sector. The reality is that the sector has experienced a downturn over the last few years, as a direct result of the Global Financial Crisis, and we have been managing our business in the context of falling revenues, as has every other player in the market.

"These conditions have seen rationalisation across the sector with some players exiting, some consolidating and subsequent job losses. While we have not been immune to any of this, we elected to redirect some of our effort towards new revenue opportunities and have been successful in gainfully employing resources that would otherwise have been idle.

"Pleasingly, taking a line through the prepaid campaign, we may be about to enter an upturn in the margin lending business cycle, as we are seeing some signs of a return in investor risk appetite. Although it is early days yet, it does seem that the time is right to invest further in the margin lending business to ensure we are not late-comers to the opportunity."

Mr Hirst announced that Ms Tullio had been appointed to the position of Executive, Margin Lending to lead BEN’s growth objectives.

"Alex and the margin lending leadership team have been given a mandate to deliver and execute on a strategy that can grow the business. Alex will join the Group’s Executive in this role and, I am sure, be a strong advocate for the margin lending business and a valued contributor to the Executive team."