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Report: National Australia Bank in talks with Nippon Life over funds biz

National Australia Bank Ltd. has held preliminary discussions with Japan's Nippon Life Insurance Co. about a possible stake sale or outright acquisition of its funds management business, The Australian Financial Review's Street Talk blog reported March 22, citing sources.

The bank is in the process of reviewing its funds management, superannuation and financial advice businesses. The blog reported in January that NAB is considering spinning off or floating its wealth management division.

NAB is now reportedly winding down capital expenditure in some areas of the business under review, according to the report. The latest moves are focused on the possible separation of NAB's systems from funds management arm MLC and broking and advice arm JBWere.

Nippon Life has strong ties with NAB and is also diversifying into asset management as it buys up assets globally, taking up a 85.1% stake in Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co.'s Japan unit and a stake in Los Angeles-based asset manager TCW Group Inc. The Japanese insurer acquired 80% of NAB's life arm in 2016.