WEALTH MANAGEMENT | Tony Chua, Australia

CBA backs away from funds management industry

Commonwealth Bank of Australia plans aggressive Asian expansion as the lender wants acquisitions and formation of strategic partnerships focusing on Indonesia, China and Vietnam.

A deal establishing alliance between CBA and an unnamed Asian bank which would involve an initial investment of at least $100 million is part of CBA's growth agenda focused on Indonesia, China and Vietnam, sources familiar with the matter said.

CBA managing director Ralph Norris is eyeing Asian banking targets as opportunities to expand in Australia seem to have dampened with the competition regulator recently reducing the prospects for more takeovers in the domestic banking sector, according to a report in the Herald Sun.

CBA appears to be standing back from the consolidation game being played out in the Australian funds management industry amid rising concern that the bidding war between NAB and AMP for AXA Asia Pacific's local businesses has become too expensive.

Norris mentioned the bank's campaign into Asia last February when he told a newspaper "there are going to be opportunities that come about in Asia which may well be attractive to us."

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