Including wealth management, life insurance and advice businesses in AUS and NZ for A$1.76 billion

ANZ has reached an agreement with ING Group to acquire its 51% shareholdings in the ANZ-ING wealth management and life insurance joint ventures in Australia and New Zealand for A$1,760 million. Reportedly, Harry Stout will continue as CEO of INGA which will remain based in Sydney and Helen Troup will continue as CEO of ING (NZ) in Auckland.

As part of the transaction, ANZ has agreed to enter into transitional service arrangements with ING Group. This includes continued use of the ING brand for a period of up to 12 months while future branding is determined. ANZ will continue to use ING Investment Management as its preferred provider of asset management services in the medium term. In New Zealand, the acquisition includes the ING New Zealand investment management business and two property trusts. In connection with the transaction, ANZ has also agreed to purchase ING Group’s interests in the ING (NZ) Diversified Yield Fund and Regular Income Fund in New Zealand for A$55 million.

Mike Smith, CEO of ANZ, said: “Moving to full ownership of the wealth management and life insurance joint ventures significantly strengthens our position in wealth management with a business we know well. Similar to the recent RBS Asia acquisition, ANZ has been able to take advantage of the global financial crisis and ANZ’s strong balance sheet to advance our strategy. It also gives us the flexibility to pursue further growth opportunities over the medium term without the constraints of a joint venture structure and supported by a well capitalised parent company.”

Graham Hodges, acting CEO Australia, said: “The joint ventures have strong market positions and are well managed and profitable. We are committed to growing our presence in wealth management and life insurance and will continue to focus on enhancing value through financial adviser distribution and the Bank’s channels. Moving to full ownership means we can more closely integrate our retail banking and wealth businesses within ANZ and deepen relationships with our customers.”

“Importantly, for INGA and ING (NZ) customers there will be no change to the policy commitments and service arrangements. The businesses will also continue their long-standing commitment and business relationships with professional financial advisers and will continue to be a vocal advocate for the value of quality advice. We know the businesses very well and so the ownership transition will be efficient and not disrupt staff, customers or advisor channels. The current management team and over 2,700 staff will continue to operate the business and will also benefit from greater stability and broader opportunities as part of ANZ,” he added.

Completion will be subject to regulatory approvals in Australia and New Zealand and is anticipated in the fourth quarter of 2009.