NEW NAME: Former Whittaker Macnaught advisor Michael Rowland is rebranding his business to Rowland Financial Advisory based in Cotton Tree.
NEW NAME: Former Whittaker Macnaught advisor Michael Rowland is rebranding his business to Rowland Financial Advisory based in Cotton Tree. Iain Curry

Whittaker McNaught closes after 30 years in finance

ONE door closed, but another one has opened.

The Commonwealth Bank closed the 30-year-old financial planning firm founded by Noel Whittaker and business partner Cheryl Macnaught on Sunday.

However, almost all of the Whittaker Macnaught clients have transferred to the new practice of Maroochydore adviser Michael Rowland, who used the corporate development to set up his own company.

"It is business as usual," Mr Rowland said. "The new practice operates from the same office and it's all the same contact details.

"So it's been a seamless transfer in that respect for clients and that's always been the priority for me. It is what they know and are comfortable with."

Whittaker Macnaught had been the subject of numerous takeovers in recent years and eventually ended up in the Commonwealth Bank's hands, but it operated under its own licence.

The bank then decided to close the business to streamline its operations and bring Whittaker Macnaught branches under its own Financial Wisdom licence.

Mr Rowland will operate his Michael Rowland Advisory under Financial Wisdom, servicing 400 clients between himself and a second adviser.

Another dozen former Whittaker Macnaught advisers across Queensland will establish their own practices under Financial Wisdom licences.

Mr Rowland said it was a chance for him to carve his own path in the finance industry, just as Noel Whittaker had done three decades ago.

"I've had a couple of chats with Noel and he is quite supportive of the move overall.

"We're getting the opportunity to do what he did all those years ago."

Mr Whittaker said it was a sign of the times.

"All the banks are cutting back and rationalising and a decision was made this year that Whittaker Macnaught could operate under the licence of Financial Wisdom which is a major part of Commonwealth Bank Wealth.

"They thought it was a waste of money to have Whittaker Macnaught with its own licence.

"A deal was struck that certain advisers would be able to buy their client book at a very reasonable price and the Commonwealth Bank would assist them to do that with offers such as free rent for 12 months.

"I accept the fact that things move on.

"The good news is the parent (company) in the Commonwealth Bank is very strong.

"The important thing to me is the customers get well looked after, and they will be."



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