ANZ's Elliott confident regulator will approve IOOF deal

The Sydney Morning Herald Finance 0 month ago

ANZ chief executive Shayne Elliott says he is confident the bank will receive regulatory approval to sell its superannuation business to controversial wealth manager IOOF for $850 million.

Mr Elliott was quizzed in Canberra on Friday at a parliamentary hearing into the performance of the big four banks about ANZ's stalled sale of its pensions and investments business.

ANZ boss Shayne Elliott in Canberra on Friday.

The deal, first announced in December 2017, has been hamstrung by ongoing regulatory concerns about IOOF's governance and compliance issues, including requirements from the Australian Prudential and Regulatory Authority that it introduce majority independent boards of its super businesses.

In recent months, the trustees of ANZ's OnePath business and ANZ have approved the deal as being in the best interests of members. Both ANZ and IOOF are waiting for APRA to approve the deal.

"We are confident it will be approved," Mr Elliott said.

Mr Elliott was then asked by Labor MP, Andrew Leigh: "Is your inclination is that OnePath’s best future lies outside ANZ."

Mr Elliott responded simply: "Yes."

The banking boss was also asked about its views on secondary boycotts by lobby groups focused on climate change and reducing the use of fossils fuels in the economy.

"Putting aside climate change and just talking about climate, it’s important to our customers," pointing to ANZ's roots as primarily a bank for the farming industry.

Mr Elliott said the bank had a responsibility to price risk. This could include regulatory risk for firms facing regulatory reforms, Mr Elliott said by way of an example.

"Our job is to understand what those risks are, in some cases it is pricing that risk and in some cases its helping our customers to look through what they do," he said.

Mr Elliott said that ANZ was more actively investing in gas and sources of renewable energy.

"We believe there is a transition happening, we believe it is inevitable."

"Over time we adjust our risk appetite," Mr Elliott said before adding: "We now work with our top 100 emitting customers just to understand what they think about it."

Mr Elliott was also asked about the bank's remediation program for customers who were inappropriately charged fees. The boss and bank customer confirmed he had received three separate compensation cheques -- totalling around $140 -- from ANZ as part of the bank's remediation program. 

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