Will an Asian Bank Take ANZ Wealth?

Past and Present ANZ CEO's Mike Smith and Shayne Elliott

Past and Present ANZ CEO's Mike Smith and Shayne Elliott

On the back of a set of poor results, Shayne Elliott, the Chief Executive of ANZ is said to have instigated an appraisal of its Asian wealth business. Could we now see another tussle for an overseas wealth unit by domestic Asian institutions?

Following in the recent footsteps of France’s Societe General and the U.K.’s Barclays Wealth, is the Asian empire that previous ANZ CEO Mike Smith built about to give way to the Melbourne based banks domestic priorities?

An article in the Australian Business Review (paywall) has suggested that the under pressure Elliott, is looking to create a humbler bank, one that gets back to its basic domestic priorities. Not unlike the same vocabulary used by the Barclays CEO Jes Staley's when he talked of his strategy of cutting costs and selling off non-core assets.

Rapid Asian Push

For ANZ the business rapidly built out by Smith which included the more than $500 million acquisition of retail and commercial banking assets across Asia from Royal Bank of Scotland in 2009, is now looking like non-core assets.

The usual players of DBS, OCBC, via Bank of Singapore, and perhaps Julius Baer and Credit Suisse who want Asian momentum, may be interested in seeing what is on offer. Unlike the Barclays and SG wealth units however, the ANZ Wealth business may not contain anything more sophisticated than mass affluent clients, many of whom already have a local Asian banking relationship.  

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