ANZ’s planned exit from product manufacturing could include the listing of some or all of ANZ’s wealth businesses on the ASX, says the bank’s chief executive.
In an interview with ANZ's BlueNotes publication, ANZ chief executive Shayne Elliott outlined further details of the bank's previously flagged plan to sell its wealth management manufacturing businesses.
"We have a really strong business that tends to be really focused on life insurance, and within that life insurance it’s very heavily focused on retail as opposed to group life, which is a good thing," Mr Elliott said.
ANZ will still be distributing wealth management products to its customers, Mr Elliott said – but the bank will be "partnering" with a "world-class" product manufacturer.
Mr Elliott claimed the decision has not been spurred by reputational damage done by wealth management scandals in the press, pointing out that ANZ will still be exposed to those risks given the bank will still be distributing products to its customers.
"We have an obligation to provide these solutions to our customers. We’re a natural place that they can come and have a conversation about that. But that doesn’t mean that we need to be actually manufacturing the product," he said.
Mr Elliott acknowledged the bank's new business model will be "very different" than the "classical vertical integration where we own and operate everything".
"We will be putting out an Information Memorandum shortly and that will craft out a starting point for discussion," he said.
The ANZ chief executive also said that a "capital markets solution" (i.e., listing on the ASX) is also an option the bank is considering.
"Because it’s a really good business, it’s large, it’s very valuable, many many billions of dollars, it may well be that in discussing with partners looking at our options that all or part of this business gets listed on the local stock exchange and available for people to invest in. That’s all we are talking about," Mr Elliott said.
However, he emphasised that ANZ was "absolutely not" just putting up a 'for sale' sign on the wealth management business.
"This is going to take time, this is a pretty big decision. And this is more about cultural fit and a partnership, not just a sale," Mr Elliott said.
"We’re seeking really to form a partnership for a very long period of time with an operator that we feel comfortable with and who wants to do the right thing by customers.
"That’s going to take a bit of time to get to know people, so it’s something that we will be looking at. I’d be very surprised if we have any major announcements before the end of this calendar year," Mr Elliott said.
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