Radical changes at CommBank

Today’s announcements by the Commonwealth Bank that Wealth chief Annabel Spring is to depart the business, that it has sold CommInsure to AIA and that it is considering the future of Colonial First State Global Asset Management (CFS GAM) represent a radical reaction to recent events.

Much had been written about there having been no departures from CommBank in the wake of recent scandals, but today’s announcements will quieten the critics.

It now seems clear that the Commonwealth Bank’s presence in the wealth management sector will be much diminished from that which existed when it started 2017 with its insurance business now being run by AIA and with CFSGAM now firmly on the sales block.

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CommBank has said that CFSGAM is now the subject of a strategic review, “including whether a separately listed CFSGAM would be better able to grow its business, serve the interests of its clients and attract and retain key personnel”.

With the bank already positioning to replace chief executive, Ian Narev when he departs before the end of the current financial year, it is clear that the board is looking for a fresh start and a balance sheet with substantially more liquidity and much fewer liabilities. 

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