Business publisher and information group, CCH Australia, has acquired the Australian Institute of Financial Studies (AIFS), a registered training organisation specialising in financial services.
This takes CCH into a new, although allied area, enabling CCH to add value to the business with its information, software, business tools and online training products.
According to CCH chief executive officer, Mr Willem van Zanten, the acquisition had strategic value for CCH by contributing to the group's objective of becoming a leading supplier to the financial services market.
"CCH already provides subscriptions and products to the industry and the acquisition of AIFS allows development of relationships in the industry beyond our traditional area", Mr van Zanten said.
"There are advantages of the timing of our acquisition since it coincides with governments seeking more regulation of financial institutions and insurers, especially in dealing with customers. Additionally, since many industry participants, like financial planners, are required by law to update and maintain their qualifications, we see considerable growth prospects for the business", Mr van Zanten said.
A significant business area for AIFS is compliance assessment. CCH has already made inroads to this area, having combined technology and expert content to produce an online compliance training program for fair trading, with other topic modules to come.
An initial project for AIFS as part of CCH is to target the financial services sector with a variety of online training subjects.
The effect of the federal Government's Financial Services Reform Bill is to expand the target market for compliance training beyond the traditional authorised representative's role to at least 70,000 individuals.
The financial services industry has become one of the fastest growing sectors of the Australian economy, with the finance and insurance industry expected to comprise 6.9% of gross domestic product in 2000/01.
Among AIFS services are:
- induction and introductory training for financial services employees
- tier 2 training for single product salespeople and deposit taking activities
- assessment of practitioners without formal qualifications
- GAP assessment and training, with pre-1995 training upgraded
- tier 1 training for full advice professionals such as financial planners
- ongoing professional development of financial services representatives
- practical workplace assessment of documentation, conduct and behaviour
CCH's acquisition is one of several made over the past year as part of its growth strategy to expand its coverage of the professional's desktop, with initiatives including:
- acquisition of Access Communications, a political monitoring and online database which operates Specialised Press Agency and Political Reference Service
- acquisition of the Asia Pacific component of Ringtail's court and case management software
- acquisition of MAUS Business Systems which provides software and tools for the small business market
- acquisition of Avon Publishing, a publisher of legal forms and legal forms technology
- acquisition of The Trust Service in New Zealand which provides software for the support and administration of trusts
- an investment in Speedlegal which provides advanced document assembly and knowledge management solutions for the legal market
- an investment in leading business provider Entrepreneur Business Centre, www.ebc.com.au, which provides guidance on how to buy, start and improve a business
AIFS is to relocate to operate from CCH headquarters to enhance the opportunities of the two companies working together.
Established in 1969, CCH produces expert content in the areas of tax, law, accounting and human resources and is a subsidiary of international business publishing group, Wolters Kluwer, which recorded sales for 2000 of A$6.7bn.
ISSUED FOR: CCH AUSTRALIA LIMITED
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: MR WILLEM VAN ZANTEN, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER & RESIDENT DIRECTOR ASIA PACIFIC, CCH AUSTRALIA LIMITED
TEL: (02) 9857 1300
ISSUED BY: WESTBROOK COMMUNICATIONS
CONTACT: IAN WESTBROOK
TEL: (02) 9231 0922
MOBILE: 0407 958 137