Australian lender Westpac has reportedly hired Morgan Stanley to advise the bank on the sale of its wealth management businesses.
Westpac’s wealth unit includes superannuation, investment platforms for advised clients, multi-fund asset management and a range of direct products for SMSFs and individuals.
Investment bankers at Morgan Stanley’s Australian unit have already started working with Westpac’s internal deal team on their exit options, according to a report by Street Talk.
The team is also analysing potential buyers for the businesses.
Westpac head of corporate development Adam Penny, formerly a senior Bank of America dealmaker, is leading the talks.
The unit is expected to attract global private equity investors as well as financial institutions in Australia eyeing to bolster their operations in the country.
The asset for the sale includes Westpac’s Panorama platform, which enables financial advisers and investors to manage investment portfolios.
According to Westpac’s recent shareholder update, Panorama platform had $49.6bn in funds, 115,369 investors and 3535 active advisers at the end of March 2021.
The number of customers on Panorama increased significantly after Westpac started transferring its BT Wrap clients to its. That transition is set to be completed by the end of June.
In 2019, Westpac agreed to divest its financial advice business, which offered advice through its salaried planners, to Viridian Advisory as part of a restructure of its wealth management operations.
In 2018, the bank launched a new investment offering, dubbed the Green Tailored Deposit, targeted at investors who back investment projects addressing climate change.
In February this year, the reports emerged about UBS weighing the sale of its wealth management arm in Spain as part of the group’s review under new CEO Ralph Hamers.