Little has changed since ACCC rejected NAB

Little has changed in the underlying market dynamics since the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) rejected the National Australia Bank bid for AXA Asia-Pacific, according to former ACCC chairman Professor Graeme Samuel.

Addressing Money Management's Platforms and Wraps Conference in the Hunter Valley, Samuel denied that his former organisation's decision had been based solely on the status of AXA's North Platform now owned by AMP Limited, but rather on a broader and more complex range of issues relating to the likely competitiveness of the broader wealth management industry.

However he said that while then underlying dynamics had not changed since the ACCC made its decision, this should not preclude a major institution attempting a similar transaction in the future.

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"The 2010 rejection of the NAB bid for AXA Asia-Pacific should not be taken to say that a proposal made now would meet with opposition from the ACCC," he said.

Samuel said that it needed to be recognised that the NAB bid was not black and white, that it was complex and had more to do with concerns around vertical integration than with platforms.

He said the notion that the ACCC's decision was based on the future of the North platform reflected the background briefings and lobbying of vested interests, which had reached extraordinary levels during the process.

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