The Commonwealth Bank has confirmed the investment arm of its New Zealand subsidiary will be absorbed into the Colonial First State Global Asset Management (CFSGAM) business by July 1.

In a statement, Mark Lazberger, CFSGAM chief, said the New Zealand investment team currently operating under the ASB Group Investments (ASBGI) banner would move to the CFSGAM Global Investment Solutions group after the Australian unit took over as investment adviser to funds managed by the Commonwealth Bank’s Kiwi offshoots ASB Bank and Sovereign this month.

Lazberger said the transition should be completed by July 1 this year.

I&T News reported last May that ultimate responsibility for the management of about NZ$5 billion of assets managed by ASB and Sovereign would shift across the Tasman.

However, Joe Fernandes, CFSGAM head of global investment solutions, said the change was merely an “intergroup transfer of responsibility”.

“We’re not moving assets to Australia. It’s a change in reporting lines,” Fernandes said. “There’ll be continuity of service and we’ll keep the [NZ] investments in place.”

Shane Bryant, ASB chief financial officer, said ASB would “retain responsibility for the strategic oversight of investment products offered in New Zealand”.

“The same team from ASBGI will also continue to make investment recommendations to ASB and Sovereign,” Bryant said in a statement to I&T News.

ASB said the funds CFSGAM would now advise on included the $1.5 billion ASB KiwiSaver scheme (the country’s largest); the FirstChoice KiwiSaver scheme; the ASB Superannuation Master Trust; the ASB New Zealand Property Trust; the ASB Easy Funds range, and; most of the investment products sold by the insurance business Sovereign.

However, ASB was unable to clarify by press-time if it would still use external asset consultant JMIS to construct its model portfolios sold under the Sovereign Select brand.

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