ANZ chief executive Shayne Elliott has made it clear the bank is not looking to exit the wealth management space, but simply partner with a “world-class” product manufacturer.
In a recent ANZ ‘BlueNotes’ interview, Mr Elliott said the bank is not just putting a “for sale” sign on its wealth business, but seeking to establish a long-term partnership with a product manufacturer that can offer its clients the best solutions.
“We want to be talking to our customers about wealth solutions, about protecting the things that are important to them and about saving for their retirement, so we’re still going to be in the business, we will just be doing it with a partner who will be world-class in terms of manufacturing and supplying product,” he said.
“We want to partner with someone who is world-class, who has the intellectual, the financial, the digital wherewithal to keep up and have terrific best in class products for those customers.”
Mr Elliott, however, adds that this partnership will require the bank to keep an open mind, as it is different to the vertical integration model that ANZ is used to operating in.
“So it’s new, it’s a little bit different. There are other parts of the world that are very comfortable in this partnership model, but here in Australia and for ANZ, we’re going to keep an open mind,” he said.
“We will be putting out an Information Memorandum shortly and that will craft out a starting point for discussion, but what we will be saying is that we want to learn and be open to the best way we can service our customers and we want to be the best at this in Australia so we have to keep an open mind in terms of how that might look in terms of detail.”
As for when the sale is expected to be completed, Mr Elliott doesn’t believe it will happen before the end of 2017.
“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,” he 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.”
He adds that in terms of the process, ANZ will gather information around the wealth business and send it to potential buyers.
“We will put together some information in terms of what the business looks like – how many people, how good it is, what kind of customer base, what the financials look like. So we will send that out to people who are interested and then we will engage in a series of conversations with them,” Mr Elliott said.
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