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Commonwealth Bank Group Refines Retail Operations

Commonwealth Bank Group Refines New Zealand Retail Operations

Statement made by Ralph Norris, Head of International Financial Services, Commonwealth Bank Group

Commonwealth Bank Group is to refine its structure in New Zealand to take advantage of the strengths of the various brands operating in the local market.

This will see
- Investment and corporate banking being conducted under the Commonwealth Bank, Colonial First State and ASB Group brands,
- The management and marketing of retail financial services being focused on the ASB Bank and Sovereign brands, and
- The Colonial First State international group focusing its future New Zealand marketing as a wholesale investment manager, and offering investment expertise to ASB Group

This refinement will eliminate some duplication, and maximises the advantage, specialisation and expertise each brand offers financial advisers and customers.

It underlines the commitment Commonwealth Bank has to New Zealand following its acquisition last year of Colonial (which included Colonial First State) and the purchase of the remaining 25% of ASB Bank it did not already own.

The refinement of our New Zealand operations has produced a different final outcome to that in Australia, and acknowledges the strength of the ASB Bank and Sovereign brands in the retail market, and that of Colonial First State as an investment manager.

These refinements will have limited effect on client advisers and customers.

It will, however, see the product management and marketing of Colonial First State’s retail managed funds being transferred to Sovereign. Importantly, Colonial First State will continue to be the investment manager for these products.

The New Zealand operations of Colonial First State will remain an integral part of the international Colonial First State Investments Group headquartered in Sydney

The specialist funds administrator, Jacques Martin New Zealand Ltd, will continue as an independent operator in New Zealand.

We are in the process of outlining the impact of these strategic changes to staff, client advisers and customers, and the options open to them.

The changes are expected to take about six months to complete.

ASB Group remains in a growth phase, and it will be expanding its work force in the current financial year.


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