Major divests another business

by Madison Utley14 Jun 2019

Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) yesterday announced it has entered into an agreement to sell another of its wealth management businesses, Count Financial Limited.

The business is being purchased for $2.5m by CountPlus Limited, the “logical owner of Count Financial given its historical corporate relationship and equity holdings in 15 Count Financial member firms,” according to CBA’s media release. 

The bank has assured that it will continue to handle customer remediation matters arising from past issues, even after the transaction is complete.

In its March quarter results, CBA shared that it has spent $714m on customer remediation provisions thus far. Of that sum, $144m were made in relation to Count Financial.

The major has made a contingent liability of $56m more available to Count Financial, with the qualification that CBA be notified of all claims within four years of the transaction’s completion.

Last year, in June 2018, CBA announced plans to demerge its wealth management and mortgage broking businesses in totality sometime in late 2019.

The demerged business, called CFS Group, was to include CBA’s Colonial First State, Colonial First State Global Asset Management (CFSGAM), Count Financial, Financial Wisdom and Aussie Home Loans businesses.

In March of this year, CBA announced the suspension of the demerger. The decision was partially attributed to the uncertainty brought on by the royal commission, but no alternative timeline has been provided.

Already, CFSGAM has been sold and pulled from the entities included in the indefinitely postponed demerger.

Now, Count Financial is also in the process of being sold, with no update given on the current standing or future of CFS Group.