ANZ to Focus on Institutional Banking in Asia; Sells Retail and Wealth Businesses to DBS

ANZ has announced it would strengthen its focus on running a world class Institutional Bank in Asia following an agreement to sell its Retail and Wealth business in Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and Indonesia to Singapore’s DBS Bank.

Commenting on the transaction from Hong Kong, ANZ Chief Executive Officer Shayne Elliott said: “Our strategic priority is to create a simpler, better capitalised, better balanced bank focussed on attractive areas where we can carve out winning positions.

“Asia remains core to ANZ’s strategy.  This transaction simplifies our business while allowing us to continue to benefit from higher levels of growth in the region through a focus on our largest, most successful business in Asia - banking large corporate and institutional clients driven by trade and capital flows particularly with Australia and New Zealand.

“By focussing our resources in Asia - whether that is capital, technology or people - on Institutional Banking, we can continue to build a world-class, capital efficient business by strengthening our network and the support we provide to our key institutional clients.

“In Retail and Wealth, although we have grown a profitable business in Asia, without greater scale ANZ’s competitive position is not as compelling.

“Having looked carefully at the business in recent months, it is clear the environment we face has changed and to make a real difference for our Retail and Wealth customers, we would need to make further investments in our Asian branch network and digital capability.  Further investments do not make sense for us given our competitive position and the returns available to ANZ,” Elliott said.

Elliott added: “We believe DBS, with its extensive and growing network in the region, is ideally placed to provide an even better service for our 1.3 million Retail and Wealth customers in Asia.

“I am also pleased that DBS plans to take on the majority of our staff meaning continuity for customers and greater opportunities for our people as part of a leading Asian bank with significant growth ambitions,” he said.

Subject to regulatory approval, ANZ expects the sale of its Retail and Wealth businesses in Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and Indonesia to be completed during 2017 and early 2018.

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