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Advisers demand more from ING

Tuesday, December 16th 2008, 5:19AM

by David Chaplin

Paul Markham, Auckland-based adviser and spokesperson for the disgruntled advisers, said at a “very frank” meeting held with senior ING management, including the group's new CEO, Helen Troup, the “delegation emphasised repeatedly that a solution had to be found immediately for investors”.

“We were very emphatic that unless a significantly enhanced solution was offered that investors can live with, that ING's image would be seriously tarnished (much more so than it has been already),” Markham said in a statement.

“The delegation was demanding nothing but a 100% solution for investors but ING advised that this was not possible.”

Last week ING released its rescue package for the RIF and DYF products that included an upfront loan of $100 million “at favourable commercial terms” and a gradual wind-down of the funds.

When ING closed the RIF and DYF to redemptions this March they were collectively valued at about $520 million but have approximately halved in value in the intervening months. At their peak the two funds were worth around $850 million in total.

Troup declined to comment on the Markham group meeting but said while the firm has been in discussions with a number of parties “we do not discuss private conversations and meetings with advisers via the media”.

"We announced our plan as soon as we could last week, and we are still finalising details. This week we are focused on talking to advisers and gathering feedback on the proposal,” Troup said. “More information will be available in the New Year."

ING has scheduled a series of adviser meetings this Wednesday and Thursday to discuss the RIF/DYF issues. The group will meet with interested advisers in Invercargill, Christchurch and Wellington on Wednesday and Napier, Auckland and Tauranga the following day. Times and venues for the meeting are available from ING.

According to market insiders, ING has also culled its investment management ranks as a precursor to separating out the funds management business from its insurance and other lines.

However, an ING spokesperson denied rumours the firm had begun a restructure of its funds management group by making several of its senior managers redundant yesterday.

“We are appointing a managing director of managed funds, and will issue a media release when the process is complete,” the spokesperson said.

It is understood current ING chief financial officer, Paul Butler, is front-runner to secure the head of funds management role.

« Morningstar disappointed with ING decisionSovereign takes regulation bull by the horns »

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