National Australia Bank (NAB) has announced plans to divest its wealth management business in order to focus on core banking.
The sale will cover the bank’s Advice, platform and superannuation and asset management businesses, operating under MLC and other brands.
“Independent ownership will allow for this business to determine its own strategy and investment priorities to better deliver for customers and enhance its competitive position,” the bank said.
The businesses will be offloaded through demergers and IPOs by the end of 2019, subject to regulatory approvals. The deal excludes JB Were and nabtrade businesses.
The decision was announced as the group posted a cash profit of A$2.76bn for the half year ended 31 March 2018, a 16% slump from A$3.29bn reported in the same period last year. The earnings were hit by a A$755m restructuring charge.
The group’s net profit for the first half was A$2.58bn, up 1% from A$2.54bn in the previous year. Net interest income rose 5% year-on-year to A$6.75bn.
NAB CEO Andrew Thorburn said: “We have delivered a solid 1H18 result as we manage NAB for today while transforming for the future. Compared with 1H17, cash earnings are broadly stable, excluding previously announced restructuring-related costs, and revenue is up with margins higher. Our business has strong fundamentals including asset quality and balance sheet metrics.”