News eDaily18 Oct 2017

Australia:ANZ looks for buyers of insurance ops

18 Oct 2017

Australia & New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) has reached a deal worth almost US$750 million to sell a large part of its wealth management operations in Australia and continues to look at options for the remaining life insurance business, as the banking group shifts to distributing rather than producing advice and superannuation products.

ANZ said it had agreed to sell its pensions and financial planning business to Australia's IOOF Holdings, and would also enter a 20-year partnership that would see it distribute the financial services firm's investment products through its network of bank branches.

The bank flagged an exit from manufacturing its own life and investment products late last year and formally kicked off the auction of its wealth businesses in April, just days after agreeing to sell retail and wealth-management businesses in five Asian countries. It has since agreed to sell its asset-finance business in New Zealand, and in April it agreed to sell its retail banking operations in Vietnam to focus instead on institutional banking in the country.

The original plan was to seek a buyer for the entire wealth business, but ANZ Wealth Australia group executive Alexis George said that the company elected to first sell the pensions and investments operations to be able to offer a cleaner insurance business with more options.

The businesses being sold to IOOF include the OnePath pensions and investments unit, which has about A$48 billion in funds under management, and a network of aligned dealers under brands including RI Advice and Elders Financial Planning. The remaining part of the wealth division includes the OnePath Life Insurance business, with in force premiums worth A$1.6 billion, general and lenders-mortgage insurance business and licensed advisors.

The sale of ANZ's wealth operations follows the sale by Commonwealth Bank of Australia of its life insurance businesses in Australia and New Zealand to pan-Asian insurer AIA Group. Last year, National Australia Bank agreed to a A$2.4 billion deal to sell control of its life insurance business and Macquarie Group sold its life business for an undisclosed price.

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