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National Bank to stay in Wellington

The National Bank has made a U-turn on how it is going to run its merged National/Countrywide managed funds business.

Wednesday, July 28th 1999, 12:00AM

by Philip Macalister


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The National Bank has made a U-turn on how it is going to run its merged managed funds business.

As reported earlier (It's all coming together nicely...at the National Bank) the National Bank planned to merge its financial services business with Countrywide Funds Management and move the operation from Wellington to Auckland.

Former Countrywide manager Rob Wood had taken over running the business and fellow Countrywide staffer Paul Lyons was assisting him. NBFS chief manager Cornelia van der Walt had also moved to Auckland to be part of the new organisation.

In recognition of the growing importance of funds management Wood was being appointed to the bank's executive committee.

However, the National Bank has now decided to keep the operations in Wellington and the senior staff have effectively been made redundant.

Peter Lockery has been appointed to manage the operations. His background is in the human resources area and he is currently heavily involved in the integration of the National and Countrywide banks.

Wood and Lyons had made significant progress on how the new business was to be structured and how the funds of the two groups would be rationalised.

They were keen to continue to use the independent financial advisory network, and also start utilising the power of the bank's branch network to sell managed funds and insurance products. This is a strategy which has been used successfully by the other banks to sell personal investment products and services.

It is unknown, at this stage, what shape the merged entity will take.

AMP Asset Management, which bought the National Bank's wholly-owned fund manager Southpac a year and a half ago, continues to manage NBFS's funds. It currently has some good stories to tell including the top performance of the NZ Equity Growth Trust.

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