Colonial First State has been helping Australians with their investment, superannuation and retirement needs since 1988.
Colonial First State’s origins can be traced back to Campbell’s Bank, one of Australia’s first public savings banks, established in Sydney in 1819. It was officially endorsed by Reserve Bank of Australia in 1822 when convicts were instructed to deposit their wages into its savings accounts.
Campbell’s Bank went on to merge with the Government Savings Bank of New South Wales and became the Rural Bank of New South Wales in 1933 before changing its name to the State Bank of New South Wales in 1982.
In 1988 First State Fund Managers was established as the investment arm of the State Bank of NSW.
Six years later, Colonial Mutual purchased the State Bank of NSW and its subsidiaries, before demutualising in 1996 to become the newly-formed public company, Colonial Limited. In the same year it was incorporated as a holding company for all of the group’s businesses – collectively known as the Colonial Group.
During this time the Colonial subsidiary, First State Fund Managers, established its First State super fund, and the Colonial Group acquired Co-operative Investment Managers Limited, with Colonial Investment Management Limited operating as a fund management subsidiary.
On 9 January 1997 Colonial Limited became a public-listed company and on 19 May 1997, its shares were listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX).
However, the period of Colonial Limited’s history as a listed company was short-lived. By the time Colonial Limited had listed on the ASX, the Commonwealth Bank had already been privatised and was also listed.
Having each risen to a position of significant market share in Australia, it was clear that there was advantage to be gained from a merger. Negotiations commenced in the late 1990s, with seven Commonwealth Bank shares offered for every 20 Colonial shares.
The merger received approval from the Supreme Court of Victoria on 31 May 2000 and was completed on 13 June 2000.
Upon the merger, Colonial Limited was delisted from the ASX and became a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Commonwealth Bank, with the wealth manager’s brand name changing to Colonial First State in 2001.