ANZ CEO Shayne Elliott on Asia
"It doesn’t kill the idea, because the idea is a good one, and I can’t really conceive of ANZ not being in Asia because it is core to what we do. But the way we approach it has to change, to move with the times"
- Shayne Elliott is managing ANZ’s retreat, if not withdrawal, in Asia
Shayne Elliott’s tenure as CEO of ANZ has already been marked by several strategic initiatives since he took the top job in January. None is more striking than the apparent reversal of his predecessor’s grand ambitions for Asia. Is there method in the madness of undoing years of expensive effort? And can a renewed focus on Australia deliver growth when some say the domestic industry is past its peak?
"It’s time to focus on those customers that are really willing to pay"
- Shayne Elliott
"We probably should have invested more in technology, been a bit more thoughtful about some of the target markets we went after. We took on a whole bunch of customers that frankly don’t value what we do for them"
- Shayne Elliott
The multi-decade period of extraordinary plenty for Australia’s big four banks may be at an end.
"We want ANZ to be the best bank in the world for customers who move goods and money around Asia"
- Shayne Elliott
"If we sat down and allocated ANZ's profits so I could figure out exactly what’s in Asia, I don’t really care if that’s 25%, 35% or 12%"
- Shayne Elliott
Under CEO Shayne Elliott’s more home-grown strategy, there will be less of Asia and more of New Zealand showing up in ANZ’s group results.
ANZ is looking for buyers for parts of its Asia business; expect local buyers to be writing cheques again.
The word 'Asia’ appeared sparingly in ANZ’s first half results on Tuesday, and when it did, its connotations were overwhelmingly negative. Shayne Elliott, the new CEO delivering his first earnings report to a Melbourne room full of analysts, first mentioned the world’s largest and most populous continent in the context of "tough decisions" he had had to make. One of these was a revaluation of the bank’s investment in Malaysia’s AmBank, a A$260 million impairment in recognition of the tanking Malaysian economy.
ANZ confident on operations, warns on conditions
In November, ANZ announced it would downgrade some of its vanilla Asia trade-finance operations and focus on higher-returning products, such as supply-chain finance, after consecutive quarters of margin compression.
ANZ style and tactics will change, Asia presence won’t
"Over the last decade ANZ has pushed into the Asian market in a way that has been unmatched by other domestic banks. This needs a solid approach to the business, it is not possible to move out rapidly across a whole geography without having aligned partners, resources and technology to support it."
Incoming ANZ CEO says bank remains fixed on Asian strategy after another record profit.
ANZ’s Liu also says the precipitous slide in stock prices since mid-June was "due to an overall lack of hunger for transparency and reform. China needs to accelerate reforms of SOEs and state-run banks. That’s the only way to create a strong equity market capable of attracting and retaining the interest of all manner of investors. My hope is that the recent market rout has forced authorities to engage in proper reform measures, openly, publicly and honestly."
Elliott named new ANZ CEO
Awards for Excellence 2015: Best bank in New Zealand - ANZ It’s a sign of ANZ’s growing strength in New Zealand that the comparatively small country’s contribution to the bank’s overall bottom line is increasing, despite the fact that ANZ has pushed into high-growth Asian emerging markets.
One of the ways in which ANZ differentiates itself is the expertise it has in its home markets, according to Faruqui. "If there is a client in Asia that does business in Australia and New Zealand, where we are a substantial player, we have to dominate that corridor to make sure we provide full banking services end-to-end."
"If ANZ has to hold unquestionably strong levels of capital, it will become increasingly difficult for it to compete in Asia," says one Sydney-based analyst. "If you’re a CBA or a Westpac and you’re told to hold more capital, you can move your deposit rates down a little or re-price your domestic loan book. But if you’re ANZ, you can’t go to Samsung or Hutchison and say you’re hiking your trade finance pricing by 20 basis points because your local regulator wants you to hold more capital. You can re-price in a closed market, but not in an open one like Asia."
Transaction banking is a key pillar in ANZ’s regional strategy of penetrating deeper into Asian markets from its heartland in Australasia. Building a regional renminbi capability could help fulfil that ambition.
Strong capital generation and another surprisingly strong outcome
In June 2012, Elliot became CFO of ANZ; board member of ANZ New Zealand and AmBank boards, responsible for group finance, strategy, legal, treasury, IR, and M&A. Prior to this, he was global MD institutional banking at ANZ, and an ANZ New Zealand board member.