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New Zealand Managed Funds

30 November 2005

National Australia Bank Announces Developments in New Zealand Managed Funds Business - New Alliance Between Bank of New Zealand and AXA APH

National Australia Bank today announced plans to sell its New Zealand managed funds subsidiary, BNZ Investment Management Limited, to Assure New Zealand Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of AXA Asia Pacific Holdings Limited (AXA APH), and a new relationship for the distribution of managed funds products in New Zealand between Bank of New Zealand and AXA APH.

BNZ Investment Management has had a managed funds business operating solely in New Zealand for the past twenty years and believes the move will bring improved investment opportunities for customers.

Bank of New Zealand General Manager Personal Financial Services, Blair Vernon, said the 40,000 investors would remain customers of the Bank and would continue to receive investment advice from their Bank of New Zealand advisers.

“We are writing to customers advising them of the arrangements.

”This development is positive for our customers and for the business by combining the complementary strengths of two of New Zealand’s leading financial services organisations.

“The step combines Bank of New Zealand’s nationwide network of investment adviser and customer support with AXA APH’s investment expertise and global strength.”

The acquisition is intended to take effect from 31 January 2006 and will see AXA APH assume responsibility for BNZ Investment Management’s $2.4 billion funds under management* - comprising nine retail trusts, four retail superannuation funds, two wholesale unit trusts and five wholesale superannuation schemes. The transaction will have minimal impact on staffing levels.

Mr Vernon said by focusing on its core strengths of high-quality retail service and the provision of investment advice by qualified staff, Bank of New Zealand planned to expand its role in delivering advice and investment solutions to New Zealanders.

“To achieve this, we need the scale and critical mass of a fund manager like AXA APH. We’re delighted by the initiative and the benefits we believe it will bring.

“While BNZ Investment Management has a proud record of achievement, it has been restricted in its ability to develop new opportunities due to the relatively small size of the New Zealand market. We believe our customers will benefit from the investment management role moving to AXA APH.”

Mr Vernon said most customers would notice virtually no change in their day-to-day dealings with their investments. For example, they would continue to talk to Bank staff for investment advice and to make changes to their investments through the Bank, as they do now.

AXA APH’s New Zealand Chief Executive Ralph Stewart said the initiative was consistent with the trend in the market towards specialisation and, where possible, towards harnessing the benefits of scale.

“Bank of New Zealand has a great retail brand and retail capability, while AXA APH is a leader in product development and investment management. The two parties complement each other particularly well.”

AXA APH is 51.6% owned by AXA Group, the world’s fifth largest investment management organisation with Euro 935 billion in assets under management globally as of 30 June 2005. Post acquisition, AXA APH will be one of New Zealand’s largest investment managers with nearly NZ$6 billion funds under management.

ENDS

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