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AXA buys Goulds - finally

AXA has finally achieved its goal and bought the former Vestar/Northplan financial planning business currently under the control of Gould Wealth Management.

Thursday, March 5th 2009, 5:23AM

No public announcements have been made on the deal, however Good Returns understands it went unconditional recently.

Because of the size and price around the transaction it is unlikely to be reported to the Australian Stock Exchange, where AXA is listed.

Good Returns understands Gould Wealth Management will be merged into AXA’s Spicers Wealth management business.

Currently Spicers, including NZ Financial Planning, has funds under management of between $1.1 billion and $1.4 billion.

Gould Wealth Management is believed to have around $330 million in funds under management, but more than a quarter of those funds are impaired assets; that is distressed finance companies such as Capital + Merchant and MFS.

The sale has been flagged previously on Good Returns. Currently Gould Holdings is also selling another of its assets, Chongs Media Services.

Previously it bought the Mike Pero mortgage broking business and on-sold that in a relatively short time frame.

It is understood Gould Wealth Management is burning cash on a monthly basis and its funds under management is trending downwards.

Gould took over the Vestar business in July last year. Under its deal with the previous owner ASX-listed Octavier (formerly MFS), it encouraged clients to transfer to the new business rather than acquire Vestar (the company).

At the time of the transaction it secured the agreement of more than 1,600 clients representing above $400 million in funds under management.

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