Far-flung assets being flicked

Friday, May 30th 2008, 11:54AM 2 Comments

by Philip Macalister

News that GE is looking to sell or change its ownership of Wizard Home Loans is perhaps the first sign of many changes to hit the financial services market in New Zealand.

The reason, in a nutshell is that GE needs to get rid of some assets due to market issues back in the United States.

It isn't the only one. We have seen many times before that when big multi-national companies run into troubles and issues, one of the first things they do is hock off, so-called, non-core assets, or, as it seems, the ones furthest away from home.

That puts New Zealand at the top of the list as it is on the other side of the world from Europe and the United States.

My take on this situation is that many more assets will be up for sale. This week alone I have heard that Asteron is on the market. (Asteron is owned by Suncorp Metway, which is not quite on the other side of the world). Also one has to wonder about AIG. Those who follow international insurance news will be well aware that the parent company is facing, let's say, interesting times.

Although there has been little rationalisation and consolidation in the industry at the manufacturer level, the odds are reasonable that that may change soon.

As for the advisory, or distributor space, well it's like musical chairs in the investment, insurance and mortgage broking spaces. More on that later.

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Comments from our readers

On 2 June 2008 at 9:55 am Chris Douglas said:
A very good point Phil, there will be a number of senior executives offshore taking a closer look at non-core businesses or looking to cut costs. You only need to look across the Tasman where Lehman Brothers recently closed down it's Australian asset management business. This is after paying a premium to buy it only 15-months ago. The situation was a result of a global parent shutting down non-core businesses during a time of uncertainty.
On 6 June 2008 at 9:12 am Phil’s Blog » Blog Archive » How ‘bout those commissions said:
[...] « Far-flung assets being flicked [...]
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