Following an in-depth strategic review, ANZ recently made the decision to sell its retail and wealth businesses in Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and Indonesia to DBS Bank Limited (DBS). This is now subject to regulatory approval and is likely to be completed in 2017 or early 2018. In this special Executive Interview, Mark Evans, who moved from his role as ANZ’s Chief Compliance Officer to Managing Director of Transaction Banking in June 2016, talks to Helen Sanders, Editor, about the implications of this announcement for ANZ’s corporate and institutional clients.
Could you give us some background behind the recent announcement?
Last year, we did a strategic review of our retail and wealth businesses in Asia to explore how we could optimise our customers’ experience of the bank. As a result of this review, we concluded that to continue giving our retail and wealth customers the excellent experience of working with ANZ that they have come to expect, we would need to invest significantly in our branch network and digital capability which could dilute our focus on our corporate and institutional banking business in Asia. Consequently, we made the very difficult decision to sell the retail and wealth business to DBS, a decision we announced on 31 October 2016. We believe that retail and wealth customers will benefit significantly from being part of DBS, a progressive and dynamic retail and wealth bank that has provided banking in the region since 1968 with great expansion plans.
What does this mean for corporate and institutional customers, and how would you describe your Asian strategy for these customers?
By streamlining our Asia business, we are now better able to focus our investment, energy and commitment on building on our core strengths, namely maintaining our position as a leading corporate and institutional bank in Asia, as well as a market leader in Australia and New Zealand. This is a long-standing strategy with commitment at the highest level in the organisation. Our CEO, Shayne Elliott, himself has an institutional background and ran this part of the business between 2009 and 2012, building on similar roles he held in other banks.
How does ANZ differentiate its value proposition in Asia compared with other banks?
Working with ANZ in Asia brings our Institutional and Corporate customers a wide range of benefits. While many banks have a representative presence in Pudong, for example, we have an on-the-ground presence in our customers’ key expansion markets, not only China, Singapore and Hong Kong, but also the increasingly significant Mekong countries (Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam). Our business is firmly founded as a regional bank that supports customers’ trade and capital flows between these countries and our home markets of Australia and New Zealand. As clients expand their manufacturing base and supply chains in these countries, we leverage our local presence and expertise to help them to assess potential partners and meet complex regulatory requirements. In addition, clients are attracted to ANZ’s credit quality, and therefore the security of cash balances and deposits that they hold with us, and our long-term commitment to investing in the countries that comprise our geographic footprint. This commitment and ability to support clients proactively as their international growth journey progresses is highly significant for treasurers planning their banking strategy.