Westpac to snare BT

Westpac is expected to announce today that it will purchase BT Financial's investment management and distribution assets, for up to $1.2 billion. Westpac will then have over $50 billion under management, making it Australia's third-largest fund manager after AMP and Commonwealth Bank/Colonial.

There are likely to be job losses with the acquisition. BT employs 2,000 staff and there will be overlaps in many areas with Westpac and its funds management arm Sagitta Rothschild. There are also likely to be cuts at Westpac. BT Funds Management's head of equities, Marcus Fanning, is expected to be offered a position, as will Rob Coombe, BT's head of retail.

Westpac's one-month-old Sagitta Rothschild brand will be replaced by the better-known BT brand. BT has $11.4 billion in retail funds under management and $10.2 billion in wholesale funds under management.