Australian regulator gives IOOF nod to buy ANZ superannuation licenses

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(Reuters) – Australia’s banking regulator said on Monday it would allow wealth manager IOOF Holdings (AX:) to hold controlling stakes in superannuation licenses currently owned by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (AX:).

The Australian Prudential (LON:) Regulation Authority (APRA) approved applications by IOOF and one of its units to hold controlling stakes in OnePath and Oasis Fund Management.

ANZ had cut the asking price for OnePath by 13% to A$825 million ($559.85 million) in October, citing changing market conditions as the financial sector faces intense regulatory scrutiny for past misdeeds.

IOOF was among the worst affected by a Royal Commission inquiry into the financial sector last year.

“APRA’s decision recognizes IOOF’s progress in strengthening governance structures and management of conflicts within its existing RSE (registrable superannuation entity) licensees,” the regulator said in a statement.

IOOF won a high-profile case in September against the banking watchdog, after a court ruled it had not proved its case alleging that the wealth manager had breached pension laws.

“APRA will maintain close supervisory attention on IOOF to encourage a culture of ongoing improvement in its governance and business operations, consistent with APRA’s industry-wide focus on improving outcomes for superannuation members,” the statement added.

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