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Colonial To Be Integrated With Sovereign

The announcement last week that Commonwealth Bank has moved to 100% ownership of ASB Group has paved the way for the integration of ASB Group subsidiary Sovereign and Colonial in New Zealand.

The move was announced by Ralph Norris, Head of CBA’s International Financial Services and ASB Group Managing Director. Mr Norris’s responsibilities include ASB Group and most of Colonial’s operations outside Australia, including New Zealand.

“Colonial’s integration into Sovereign will make ASB Group this country’s most diversified financial services group, with a prominent position in banking, insurance, funds management and securities trading operations,” Mr Norris said.

ASB Group, which now comprises ASB Bank, BankDirect, the integrated Sovereign and Colonial businesses and trade financier S H Lock, will be

 New Zealand’s largest life insurance company, with an annual premium income of $460 million,
 the second largest fund manager, with funds under management of $2.2 billion,
 and the fifth largest and fastest growing bank, with assets of $17.4 billion.

“The formation of New Zealand’s largest financial services company establishes a tremendous base for us to enhance the range of services we offer our customers,” Mr Norris said.

The integration of Colonial and Sovereign will mean a number of changes:

 Sovereign Group Managing Director, Ian Hendry, will head the combined business

 Colonial’s Managing Director, David May, has decided to step aside to pursue other interests after a long and distinguished career with the company

 The business will be headquartered at Sovereign’s Takapuna base in Auckland. However, a substantial presence will be retained in Wellington, which has been Colonial’s head office.

Joint working groups have been established to commence the integration of the two companies.

“Both parties are experienced in mergers and understand the need to make decisions swiftly and transparently,” Mr Norris said. “While it is inevitable that positions will be lost as a result of the integration, the scope of these cannot be quantified at this time.

“However, ASB Group is experiencing strong growth, and there will be new opportunities available within the Group and its operating divisions.”

-ends-

For further information:

Ralph Norris
Managing Director
ASB Group
Phone: (09) 377 8930

Issued on behalf of ASB Group by
Dennis Lynch
Network Communications
Phone: (09) 379 3154

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