commonwealth

It's getting awfully lonely for David Murray, the last dinosaur in the swamp of vertical integration. This morning his former fiefdom, the Commonwealth Bank -- where he started the big bank move into wealth management and financial advice two decades ago with the takeover of Colonial Mutual -- announced it was spinning off its wealth management and mortgage broking businesses.

The new, separately listed CFS Group will consist of Colonial First State, Colonial First State Global Asset Management (with a reported $219 billion under management), financial advisors Count Financial and Financial Wisdom, and Aussie Home Loans businesses. John Mulcahy, a former senior bank executive under David Murray (and a former CEO of Suncorp) will chair CFS Group and a search has started for a chief executive.