|Bid||0.00 x 0|
|Ask||0.00 x 0|
|Day's Range||17.07 - 17.07|
|52 Week Range||16.58 - 20.28|
|Beta (3Y Monthly)||0.61|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||10.04|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||1.09 (6.40%)|
|1y Target Est||N/A|
Westpac’s board of directors “unreservedly apologised” on Friday for failing to detect payments allegedly linked to child exploitation in the Philippines as part of the biggest breach of money laundering ...
Investing.com - Asian markets were mixed in morning trade on Friday. Chinese stocks underperformed as there were no concrete signs of progress on U.S.-China relations.
(Bloomberg) -- Explore what’s moving the global economy in the new season of the Stephanomics podcast. Subscribe via Apple Podcast, Spotify or Pocket Cast.Indonesia’s central bank left its key interest rate unchanged while pumping more liquidity into the financial system to stimulate Southeast Asia’s largest economy.Bank Indonesia kept the seven-day reverse repurchase rate unchanged at 5% on Thursday following four rate cuts this year, in line with the prediction of 21 of 31 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. Banks’ reserve requirement ratio was cut by 50 basis points, the first such decision since June.“This looks like a balancing act,” said Frances Cheung, head of Asia macro and strategy at Westpac Banking Corp. in Singapore. “Keeping the policy rate unchanged reflects the focus on maintaining rupiah stability,” while cutting the reserve ratio “fits into the objective of promoting credit expansion.”After 100 basis points of rate cuts since July, the central bank is taking a more cautious approach in providing stimulus to the economy, turning to additional instruments to spur lending. With growth likely to remain subdued amid a sluggish global outlook, Governor Perry Warjiyo said there’s still room for more policy easing, either through monetary levers or macroprudential tools.“Monetary policy remains accommodative and is consistent with controlled inflation in the target corridor,” Warjiyo told reporters in Jakarta. “Going forward, Bank Indonesia will monitor domestic and global economic developments in using its room to implement an accommodative policy mix.”But Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto was quick to call for further easing, saying there is “quite a large room” for the central bank to further cut the rate given benign inflation and a stable currency. The benchmark rate at 5% is “pretty high” compared to countries such as the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand, he said in a statement. The rupiah erased losses after the decision was announced to end little changed, while the yield on benchmark 10-year government bonds rose three basis points to 7.09%.“There’s nothing to suggest they’re done with rate cuts,” said Mohamed Faiz Nagutha, a Singapore-based economist with Bank of America, which has forecast an additional 75 basis points of easing over the next few months. “Our call remains for a full unwind of the 175 basis points of hikes from last year.”After raising rates last year to curb a currency rout, Bank Indonesia has switched its focus to supporting growth amid a global slowdown and the U.S.-China trade war. The central bank expects Indonesia’s economy to grow 5.1% this year.What Bloomberg’s Economists SaySignificant scope for seasonal year-end risk aversion likely keeps the policy rate on hold for now in support of the currency -- especially as recent reports suggest a “Phase One” trade deal between the U.S. and China may not get done in 2019. The central bank’s pause in its rate cut cycle may extend only a short while into 1Q 2020.Click here to read the full report.Tamara Mast Henderson, Asean economistInflation remains subdued, with consumer-price growth at a six-month low of 3.1% in October. The central bank said Thursday that inflation for the full year is expected around 3.1%, well within the target band of 2.5%-4.5%.A surprise trade surplus of $161 million in October eases pressure on the current-account deficit, which has been a key risk for the rupiah. The currency is up 3.5% against the dollar in the past year, among the top performers in Asia, with the bank saying it expects the currency to remain stable in line with fundamentals.Reserve RatioThe reserve requirement ratio for conventional banks was cut to 5.5% from 6%, and for Islamic banks to 4% from 4.5%, effective Jan. 2. Warjiyo said the RRR cut would add an additional 24.1 trillion rupiah in liquidity for commercial banks and 1.9 trillion rupiah for Shariah lenders.“Liquidity is sufficient,” but there’s a problem in terms of the distribution of liquidity between groups of banks, he said.Warjiyo said strong household consumption has kept the economy resilient, but falling imports of capital goods and raw materials show production hasn’t picked up significantly.The central bank “may resume its easing cycle in early 2020 to give growth momentum an added boost” and further the government’s investment-driven growth plans, said Nicholas Mapa, an economist at ING Groep NV in Manila.(Updates with comments economy minister in sixth paragraph)\--With assistance from Tassia Sipahutar, Harry Suhartono, Yoga Rusmana and Chester Yung.To contact the reporters on this story: Karlis Salna in Jakarta at firstname.lastname@example.org;Viriya Singgih in Jakarta at email@example.com;Arys Aditya in Jakarta at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Nasreen Seria at email@example.com, ;Thomas Kutty Abraham at firstname.lastname@example.org, Michael S. ArnoldFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Pressure mounted on the chief executive of Westpac Banking Corp on Thursday over the handling of Australia's biggest money laundering scandal, with the prime minister saying the bank's board should reflect deeply on Brian Hartzer's position. Australian regulator AUSTRAC is suing the country's No.2 bank for 23 million breaches of anti-money laundering laws including a failure to monitor and report payments between known child exploiters. "These are some very disturbing, very disturbing transactions involving despicable behaviour," Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Australian Broadcasting Corp on Thursday.
Australian shares extended losses on Thursday, pulled down by Westpac Banking Corp as accusations of money laundering breaches against the lender rattled the financial sector, which has been in regulatory crosshairs for nearly two years.
Australia’s financial crime fighting agency has accused Westpac of the biggest breach of money laundering laws in the nation’s history. It alleges that the bank did not adequately monitor and report A$11bn ($7.5bn) in suspicious transactions that included transfers related to potential child exploitation. In total Westpac breached money laundering and anti-terrorist financing laws on 23m occasions, Austrac alleged in court documents.
Westpac, Australia’s second-largest bank by assets, is facing a record fine and potential leadership shake-up after the country’s financial crime watchdog accused it of a huge breach of money-laundering laws. Brian Hartzer, Westpac chief executive, told reporters on Wednesday that he would not resign as a result of the compliance failures, which the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre said in a court filing may have included transfers linked to child exploitation. Austrac is concerned that paedophiles may have been able to use Australia’s payments systems to direct and livestream the sexual abuse of children in south-east Asian nations.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- After a 14-month inquiry that resulted in the departures of two chief executive officers and two chairmen, you might think Australia’s financial services industry would have cleaned up its act. The anti-money-laundering agency just provided 23 million reasons why you’d be wrong.Austrac applied Wednesday for civil penalties against Westpac Banking Corp., the country’s second-biggest lender, for allegedly contravening laws on money-laundering and terrorism financing 23 million times. Most concerning was the agency’s claim that Westpac failed to do due diligence on 12 customers whose transaction activity was “indicative of child exploitation risks.”“Some of the undetected transactions involved payments to alleged or suspected child exploitation facilitators,” Austrac wrote in a summarized statement of claim. “One customer opened a number of Westpac accounts after serving a custodial sentence for child exploitation offences.”Such a pattern of alleged lapses is extraordinary. It’s more than two years since Westpac’s larger rival, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, faced a similar money-laundering case from Austrac, and the entire banking sector was in the dock for the duration of the Hayne Royal Commission, the government inquiry into the finance industry that finally wrapped up in February.Westpac came out of that inquiry with only a qualified pass. The tardiness in shedding its wealth business drew criticism, due to the potential for conflicts of interest. While Chief Executive Officer Brian Hartzer didn’t come in for the stinging censure that led to the departure of National Australia Bank Ltd.’s chairman and chief executive, Commissioner Kenneth Hayne was notably skeptical about whether he’d really turned over a new leaf.The long boom in the Australian economy has led executives to ignore what retail banking is meant to be about. Every bank wants to make life easy and friction-free for customers, but it’s precisely the friction embodied in know-your-customer and anti-money-laundering regulations that stops banks becoming conduits for illicit cash.Commonwealth Bank’s problems with Austrac stemmed from the introduction of deposit-taking ATMs that were wide open to abuse by money-launderers. In Westpac’s case, its LitePay international payment service appears to have played a similar role. Senior management were briefed on risks from payments to the Philippines and Southeast Asia over LitePay in June 2016, according to Austrac, but only got around to implementing an automated system to spot transactions connected with child exploitation two years later. To this day, some non-LitePay payment channels still lack such automated detection systems, according to Austrac.Identifying and preventing the funding of child exploitation should be among the most basic tasks of major banks. As anyone who’s been unable to withdraw cash at an overseas ATM knows, automated screening is capable of picking up abnormal activity in the smallest amounts. It’s astonishing that, at a time when the behavior of Australia’s banking sector was under unprecedented scrutiny, Westpac should have failed to implement controls on transactions with high-risk correspondent banks and do proper child exploitation due diligence on its own customers.Westpac is already suffering. Earlier this month it announced a A$2.5 billion ($1.7 billion) capital raising and cut its dividend after its key profit measure fell 15%. Despite a surprising pickup in house prices in recent months, the buy-to-let investors who have driven the market for years are showing little demand for new mortgage credit, crimping the bank’s most important business. Its price-to-book ratio isn’t quite as low as it was a year ago when the Hayne inquiry was approaching its climax, but it’s closing in on those levels.Former Commonwealth Bank Chief Executive Ian Narev announced his departure less than two weeks after news of that bank’s Austrac scandal broke in 2017, and his successor Matt Comyn has spent most of the past two years in an extended and radical cleanup. To remain in the top job at Westpac, Hartzer will have to persuade shareholders and directors that a similar change of heart is finally under way. To contact the author of this story: David Fickling at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Matthew Brooker at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.David Fickling is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering commodities, as well as industrial and consumer companies. He has been a reporter for Bloomberg News, Dow Jones, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times and the Guardian.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Regulators accused Australia's Westpac Banking Corp of 23 million breaches of anti-money laundering laws, saying the banking giant ignored red flags and for years enabled payments from convicted child sex offenders and "high risk" countries. The oversight failure at Australia's second-largest bank led to deep systemic non-compliance with anti-money laundering laws, financial crime watchdog AUSTRAC said in a civil court filing on Wednesday. The regulator is pursuing fines of up to A$21 million ($14 million) for every transaction Westpac failed to monitor adequately or report on time in the country's biggest ever money laundering scandal.
(Bloomberg) -- New Zealand’s central bank left interest rates unchanged -- defying widespread expectations of a cut -- saying there are signs the domestic economy will stop slowing and that inflation will pick up. The local currency jumped.“Economic developments since the August Statement do not warrant a change to the already stimulatory monetary setting at this time,” the Reserve Bank said Wednesday after holding the official cash rate at a record-low 1%. “We will add further monetary stimulus if needed.”The RBNZ’s surprise move Wednesday adds to evidence of a global policy shift after the Federal Reserve signaled a pause in late October and Australia’s central bank held steady last week; all three banks have cut rates by 75 basis points this year. New Zealand was first in the mini-easing cycle when it began lowering rates in May, and said today it wants to assess the impact of earlier reductions before adding further stimulus.“We still think the bank remains too optimistic on the prospects for growth,” said Ben Udy, an economist at Capital Economics in Singapore. Udy correctly predicted the RBNZ would hold rates today, and expects the central bank to cut twice more next year to 0.5%.The New Zealand dollar jumped three quarters of a U.S. cent after the announcement. It bought 64 cents at 3:38 p.m. in Wellington, up from 63.35 cents before the statement. Two-year swap rates rose as much as 21 basis points and are currently trading 18 basis points higher at 1.22%. The 10-year bond yield gained as much as 18 basis points and is currently 13 basis points higher at 1.49%.New projections for the overnight cash rate continue to signal some chance of a cut next year, according to the central bank’s policy statement. The projections show the average OCR dropping to 0.90% in the first quarter of 2020.The monetary policy committee’s decision was reached by consensus, according to a record of the meeting also published Wednesday.Cut Debated“The committee debated the costs and benefits of keeping the OCR at 1.0% versus reducing it to 0.75%,” it said. “The committee agreed that both actions were broadly consistent with the current OCR projection. The committee agreed that the reduction in the OCR over the past year was transmitting through the economy and that it would take time to have its full effect.”The RBNZ is betting that the easing it has delivered this year, including a surprise 50-point cut in August, will revive economic growth in 2020, helping inflation return to the midpoint of its 1%-3% target. Most economists were forecasting a cut today and had anticipated more easing next year, after inflation expectations dropped and the labor market slowed.“Today’s decision shows that the RBNZ is not afraid to stare down financial markets,” said Dominick Stephens, New Zealand chief economist at Westpac Banking Corp. in Auckland. “The RBNZ will act on its assessment of the data rather than following markets.”New Zealand’s economy has cooled, with annual growth slowing to 2.1% in the second quarter from 3.2% a year earlier. Subdued business confidence has damped hiring and investment, while manufacturing and exports have suffered as the U.S.-China trade war stokes concerns about global growth.Subdued GrowthThe RBNZ cut its forecasts for economic growth, saying it now expects gross domestic product to increase 2.2% in the year through March 2020, compared to 2.7% previously. It sees growth rising to 2.7% by early 2021.“We expect economic growth to remain subdued over the remainder of the calendar year,” the bank said. Still, “domestic economic activity is expected to increase during 2020 supported by low interest rates, higher wage growth and increased government spending and investment. The low level of the OCR has flowed through to lower lending rates more generally, which support spending and investment.”Employment remains around its maximum sustainable level, the RBNZ said. A report last week showed the jobless rate rose to 4.2% in the third quarter while annual employment growth was the weakest since 2013.The central bank raised its near-term forecasts for annual inflation, which it now expects will reach 2.1% by the first quarter of 2020 before edging back to 1.7% in early 2021.“Interest rates will need to remain at low levels for a prolonged period to ensure inflation reaches the mid-point of our target range,” the RBNZ said. “We will continue to monitor economic developments and remain prepared to act as required.”(Updates with comment from economist in 10th paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Tracy Withers in Wellington at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Matthew Brockett at firstname.lastname@example.org, Michael Heath, Michael S. ArnoldFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Some investors rely on dividends for growing their wealth, and if you're one of those dividend sleuths, you might be...
Australia's four major banks reported a second consecutive year of lower returns, dragged down by hefty customer compensation bills following mis-selling scandals, greater competition and a low credit growth environment. National Australia Bank Ltd , the last of the so-called "Big Four" to report annual earnings, on Thursday posted a 10.6% drop in profit, cut its final dividend and said it planned to raise about A$1.55 billion in new shares to help meet new regulatory capital ratios. NAB and its peers Westpac Banking Corp , Australia and New Zealand Banking Group and Commonwealth Bank of Australia were once the envy of banks around the world because of their consistently high profits and returns to shareholders.
Westpac Banking Corp staff inappropriately gave personal financial advice when marketing pension funds, an Australian court said, overturning an earlier ruling in a rare win for regulators under pressure to crack down on misconduct in the finance sector. From 2013 to 2016, Westpac contacted customers by mail and phone offering to help them shift money from other pension funds to its own, boosting its own holdings by about A$650 million ($440 million), the Federal Court said. The court gave ASIC and Westpac two weeks to agree on what public declarations the bank must give.
In 2015 Brian Hartzer was appointed CEO of Westpac Banking Corporation (ASX:WBC). First, this article will compare CEO...
(Bloomberg) -- Pacific Investment Management Co. expanded holdings of Australian state debt and Kangaroo bonds sold by top-rated borrowers as the prospect of further policy easing in the nation boosts their attractiveness.The Reserve Bank of Australia will probably cut interest rates once more before potentially embarking on quantitative easing to spur inflation, according to Robert Mead, Pimco’s co-head of portfolio management for Asia Pacific. The money manager has turned neutral from overweight on Australian sovereign debt, he said in an interview from Sydney.Debate over the likelihood of QE in Australia is picking up pace with economists arguing that one more rate cut will bring the central bank to the lowest policy level it can tolerate. A small sovereign debt market, which has rallied through the year as RBA slashed rates to a record low, suggests that any systemic asset purchases may need to cover a wider pool of securities.“Any sort of QE that was targeted at that end of the spectrum would be largely ineffective,” Mead said, referring to sovereign bonds. “That leaves buying other assets that could be supportive whether that be residential mortgage-backed securities, or credit,” even though nothing is cheap any more, he added.In such an environment, even the very low-risk securities, such as the semi-government bonds, will be very well supported, he said. “We’re very happy even though yields look low,” said Mead, who helps oversee the Pimco Australian Bond Fund which beat 92% of peers this year.The RBA slashed its cash rate to 0.75% in October, the third reduction this year, and said it’s prepared to ease again to support growth and fuel inflation. Yields on 10-year sovereign notes have tumbled to as low as 0.85% in August from 2.37% in January.The room for further rate cuts could be limited, with Westpac Banking Corp.’s influential economist Bill Evans arguing that a 0.5% policy rate could be the lower bound. RBA Governor Philip Lowe has also said that negative interest rates are “extraordinary unlikely.”Massive purchases of sovereign bonds may be challenging, with Australia’s net government debt amounting to 21% of its gross domestic product. That compares with 81% in the U.S. and 154% in Japan.Widening SpreadsPimco has snapped up Kangaroo bonds -- Aussie dollar debt sold by offshore institutions -- and local-currency notes issued by top-rated semi-government borrowers due in five to seven years where spreads have widened against sovereign paper, Mead said.Sales of Kangaroo bonds swelled to A$10.7 billion ($7.3 billion) last quarter, the largest for a three-month period in more than a year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.Mead’s other comments on Australia:We know that since central banks globally moved into negative rates territory, none of them have really been comfortable in the negative rates space. So for central banks that haven’t been into negative territory so far, I think it’s unlikely that they do anytime going forward.The RBA has suggested that they wouldn’t go negative, they’ve intimated that QE or some form of alternative support will start before interest rates got to zero.The thing to bear in mind though is when other central banks around the world first embarked on QE, assets were cheap. So for a central bank to start down the QE path now, there’s nothing cheap. Our pension system in Australia is way underweight in fixed income anyway, so do we really want the central bank to buy even more?If you put the whole mosaic together, as a bond investor you can have a high degree of comfort that interest rates might go up a little bit but they won’t go up much.Fed CutsMead also favors U.S. Treasuries, predicting that the Federal Reserve may deliver up to three more rate cuts should the U.S.-China trade conflict drag on. Policy makers could ease less than that if there is a resolution as “both sides now have enough real data to suggest that the trade war is contributing to this window of weakness” in growth, he said.“We still see U.S. duration or U.S. Treasuries as one of the preferred defensive assets still available,” Mead said. Treasuries are “a place you want to be overweight versus areas like Europe, the U.K., Japan,” he said.(Adds to Mead’s comments in quotes)\--With assistance from Stephen Spratt.To contact the reporter on this story: Ruth Carson in Singapore at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tan Hwee Ann at firstname.lastname@example.org, Liau Y-SingFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Westpac Banking Corp, Australia's second-largest bank, is considering selling its life insurance business, two sources told Reuters, in what could be the last of the Big Four lenders to exit the industry. Westpac has not made a final decision to divest the unit, but it has received some interest and discussions are at a preliminary stage, one of the sources said. The sources declined to be identified because the plans are private.
It is not uncommon to see companies perform well in the years after insiders buy shares. On the other hand, we'd be...
Moody's Investors Service ("Moody's") has completed a periodic review of the ratings of Westpac Lenders Mortgage Insurance Limited and other ratings that are associated with the same analytical unit. "IMPORTANT NOTICE: MOODY'S RATINGS AND PUBLICATIONS ARE NOT INTENDED FOR USE BY RETAIL INVESTORS. This publication does not announce a credit rating action and is not an indication of whether or not a credit rating action is likely in the near future.