GERMANY - German insurer Allianz confirmed it will split its subsidiary Dresdner Bank into two separate units, carving out investment bank Dresdner Kleinwort as a distinct legal entity, with immediate effect.

The move will officially divide what are already functionally-separate retail and wholesale units from the investment banking business into two distinct legal entities, and "creates the possibility to react in a more flexible way to the ongoing consolidation of the banking market," a spokesman for Dresdner Bank told IPE this morning.

He added: "Like this, one can play a more active role," saying the move is a further development in the ‘growth programme' first initiated by the group in 2006.

The bank's board approved the split on Friday, and confirmed Dresdner Group is the holding company for both businesses.

Dresdner declined to comment whether there are any plans to sell off Dresdner Kleinwort, arguing it does not comment on what it considers to be "market speculation".

Media reports over the weekend hinted at a possible tie-up with the German Postbank, for which it could free up capital by selling the investment banking business.

Allianz was said to have stated in 2001, when it acquired Dresdner bank, it might float Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, as the investment banking unit was then known.

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