Wealth manager appoints new head of advice

A former Westpac operations manager has been appointed to lead the financial advice capabilities of a listed wealth manager.

ClearView has confirmed its appointment of Nick Howell as the firm's new head of advice.

"Nick's appointment is part of our strong ongoing commitment to our practices and quality financial advice," ClearView Financial Advice and Matrix Planning Solutions chief executive Allison Dummett told Financial Standard.

"Professional compliance and advice support is more important than ever and, as a licensee that is growing, we will continue to build our resources and expertise."

Most recently advice review operations manager at Westpac, Howell previously spent more than three years at the bank's wealth management arm, BT Financial Group, where he was a compliance and assurance manager and financial adviser team lead.

Earlier, he spent more than eight years at Westpac and St George across various roles, including two years as an advanced financial planner, having kicked off his career as a planner Empire Financial Planning in 2010.

Howell's appointment wraps up a month of significant change at ClearView.

Late last week it was rated for the first time ever by credit rating issuer Fitch, picking up a long-term issuer default rating of BBB alongside a stable outlook.

According to Fitch, both ClearView Wealth and the firm's operating subsidiary ClearView Life Assurance are stable, with the life assurance arm also receiving a BBB long-term IDR, in addition to an insurer financial strength rating of BBB+.

Just days prior, it awarded a $1 billion platform mandate to HUB24, as it transitions away from its own platform.

The deal will see ClearView migrate $1 billion from its WealthSolutions platform to HUB24, however the firm will not close the offering. It will transition to HUB24, rather than operate a fully-outsourced CV-issued platform.

As part of the deal, ClearView's primary superannuation life insurance portfolio will be transferred to the HUB24 Super Fund, though the portfolio will continue to be administered by ClearView.

Earlier this month the firm overhauled the pricing of its LifeSolutions stepped and hybrid income protection products, in a move designed to help it battle what it dubbed "extremely difficult market conditions".

Facing higher expected income protection claims costs, "substantial" reinsurance cost increases and the full impact of the most recent reduction in interest rates, ClearView managing director Simon Swanson said the firm will adjust premium rates ahead of an expected "wave" of changes across the life industry over the next six months.

Read more: ClearViewHUB24WestpacFitchAllison DummettBT Financial GroupClearView WealthEmpire Financial PlanningLifeSolutionsMatrix Planning SolutionsNick HowellSimon Swanson
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