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Another month, another delay on ComCom’s ING decision

Another month has come and gone and the Commerce Commission is still sitting on its decision over ANZ New Zealand’s promotion of the ING’s diversified yield and regular income funds.

Wednesday, May 26th 2010, 5:02AM

by Paul McBeth

The regulator's general manager of enforcement, Kate Morrison, said last week that it has concluded its investigation into ING's and ANZ's selling of the funds and will make an "announcement on the outcome shortly." She described the investigation as the regulator's "most significant current matter."

Last month, the commission pushed out the decision's announcement for another month due to ongoing discussions with the bank after previously deferring it until April due to a clash with the regulator's work priorities.

The 14,000 investors who pumped in some $700 million into the funds will now have to wait a little longer, with a spokesperson for the regulator saying "it is a complex matter and we are unable to give an indication as to when it will be resolved."

A spokesperson for ANZ New Zealand said the bank is still waiting to hear from the regulator regarding the investigation.

Last year, about 98.5% of investors in the ING funds waived their right to pursue legal action, accepting an offer that gave them 60 cents in the dollar for investments in the diversified yield fund, and 62 cents for investments in the regular income fund.

The regulator defended the length of the investigation during a Select Committee hearing earlier this year, saying it had to commandeer staff from other units to help wade through some 23,000 documents and 300,000 pages of evidence.

Last year, ANZ bought the 49% of ING in Australia and New Zealand that it didn't already own. As at December 31, the bank's New Zealand subsidiary provided for $116 million, according to its March general short form disclosure statement. The provision covers the ING funds, as well as the remaining transaction in its structured finance dispute with the Inland Revenue Department, and the Commerce Commission's investigation into default fees charged on credit cards.


Paul is a staff writer for Good Returns based in Wellington.

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