ING Australia has lost control of the New Zealand business with the two groups now appearing to be on divergent paths.

Until last year the head of ING NZ, Paul Fyfe, reported directly to his Australian counterpart, Paul Bedbrook, but is now responsible to the regional headquarters of the Dutch financial institution in Hong Kong. Fyfe is also due to retire from his position in February when his replacement, Marc Lieberman, the former head of strategic distribution with ING Life in the US, arrives in New Zealand. ING NZ was forced to restructure its joint venture agreement with ANZ last year after the bank bought out rival The National Bank and incorporated the $700 million in managed funds and insurances it inherited into the ING product line. While the restructure was announced in September last year no mention was made then of the new reporting lines, however, an ING Australian spokesperson confirmed the arrangement has been in place since then. The spokesperson described the “decoupling” of the trans-Tasman businesses as a logical decision which would have very little impact on the Australian operations. The two businesses seem to have adopted different strategies with ING Australia putting much energy into its tied distribution and building its platform capability. ING NZ, on the other hand, is that country’s largest fund manager and consistently tops both fund inflow and performance charts.

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