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Banks look to target ING's 14,000 frozen funds clients

Three banks are rumoured to be interested in launching a high interest rate account specifically targeted at investors in ING's frozen funds, to rival that of ANZ.

Tuesday, July 21st 2009, 5:56AM

by Sonia Speedy

ING ANZ Frozen Funds Groups spokesman, Gerard Prinsen, says he has spoken to one bank that is looking at such an offering, while group members have spoken to two others. All three are said to be considering launching rivals to the 8.30% account that ANZ is providing as part of the options presented to investors in ING's frozen Regular Income Fund (RIF) and Diversified Yield Fund (DYF).

Prinsen says there are 14,000 potential customers in total, less than 3,000 of which are ANZ customers and believes any rival account will be popular.

"I think if the other banks come up with a similar competing offer, many customers will walk," he says.

So far Kiwibank, Westpac and TSB have confirmed they will not be launching such an account. The remaining banks had not confirmed either way at the time of writing.

At the same time Prinsen says the ING frozen funds issue is on the agenda for Thursday's Commerce Select Committee meeting and that Banking Ombudsman Liz Brown will speak as part of that.

Labour commerce spokesperson and chairperson of the Commerce Select Committee Lianne Dalziel has already confirmed she is developing a private member's bill to try and prevent ING frozen funds investors having to waive their legal rights.

More than 96% of investors agreed to ING's "cash out" option to receive 60 cents per unit for DYF and 62 cents for RIF, waiving their right to legal action in the process. Of those, around 85% opted for the money to go into the special ANZ account paying 8.30% for five years. 

The high acceptance rate of the offer has not weakened the Frozen Fund Groups' fight, Prinsen says. It is establishing a trust that will represent the now former investors in the two funds, while awaiting the outcome of a Commerce Commission investigation into the issue.




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