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ANZ's chair Gonski delivers a mea culpa to shareholders

ANZ Bank's annual shareholders' meeting was by no means as acrimonious as Westpac's last week but chair David Gonski adopted a conciliatory and contrite attitude.

Tuesday, December 17th 2019, 5:52PM

by BusinessDesk

David Gonski

"Every failure damages our customers and our reputation and costs us money," Gonski told the meeting in Brisbane while discussing the additional A$682 million the bank has provided for remediating problems such as overcharging and mis-selling products to its customers.

"Your board recognises the impact this has on shareholders. This is a real cost and, as a result, it has impacted the remuneration outcome for management," Gonski said.

Managing director Shayne Elliott was paid nearly A$4.1 million for the year ended September, down from A$5.25 million in 2018 and A$6.2 million in 2017.

Gonski said the pay cut was "despite a solid personal performance this year."

A number of other named executives took similar pay cuts in the latest year in which the bank reported a 7 percent drop in annual net profit to A$6 billion.

About a third of ANZ's shareholders voted against the bank's remuneration report at last year's AGM.

Gonski said the board "took this very seriously" and that ANZ had responded to shareholder concerns in a number of ways, including cutting the remuneration of senior executives.

Elliott said the New Zealand operations had delivered "another solid underlying result" but face "challenges" as a result of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand's decision to require ANZ and the other three major Australian-owned banks to lift their capital.

ANZ has said it will need to find about A$3 billion in fresh equity in addition to the A$1.5 billion in profits kept in NZ since the proposals were announced.

Elliott reiterated that the bank is "well-placed to meet this challenge without the need to raise additional capital."

Deciding to part company with former NZ chief executive David Hisco was "tough" but "the right decision and sent the right message to our people."

Hisco's departure came after concerns about his personal expenses. The Financial Markets Authority has said that ANZ Bank should have treated the sale of an Auckland house to Hisco's wife in 2017 as a related-party transaction which should have been disclosed in ANZ's 2017 financial statements.

The property at 269 St Heliers Bay Road was sold to Hisco’s wife, Deborah Veronica Walsh, for $6.9 million when QV’s valuation of the property at the time of sale was $10.75 million.

Elliott also told the meeting ANZ estimates it has more than 3.4 million customer bank accounts that need fixing in the wake of Australia's royal commission into financial services which reported its findings in February this year.

"To date, we've made good on more than one million of these bank accounts. While each issue is unique, on average we have refunded these customers around A$60 each," he said.

"No one is proud of the fact we need to remediate mistakes of the past but we are learning from our failures and strengthening the bank as a result. We're teaching our people about what went wrong and how it affected our customers to ensure we don't make these mistakes again."

In light of Westpac's difficulties relating to more than 23 million transactions that breached Australia's anti-money laundering laws, including facilitating transactions enabling child exploitation in the Philippines, Elliott told the meeting that he isn't aware of any impending litigation from Australia's anti-money laundering agency AUSTRAC.

When it came to question time, Gonski had to withstand plenty of criticism from shareholders, many of them also aggrieved customers and members of ginger group Bank Warriors.

But there were also compliments for individual ANZ staff members who were "fabulous to deal with," for Elliott – "I've admired you for a long time," and for the quality of the bank's annual report.

At the time of writing, ANZ's meeting was continuing.

Tags: ANZ

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Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
ANZ 5.19 4.05 4.05 4.49
ANZ Special - 3.55 3.55 3.99
ASB Bank 5.20 3.89 4.05 4.39
ASB Bank Special - 3.39 3.55 3.89
BNZ - Classic - 3.49 3.55 3.89
BNZ - Mortgage One 5.90 - - -
BNZ - Rapid Repay 5.35 - - -
BNZ - Std, FlyBuys 5.30 4.45 4.35 4.55
BNZ - TotalMoney 5.30 - - -
China Construction Bank 5.50 4.70 4.80 4.95
China Construction Bank Special - 3.19 3.19 3.19
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
Credit Union Auckland 5.95 - - -
Credit Union Baywide 5.65 4.75 4.75 -
Credit Union North 6.45 - - -
Credit Union South 5.65 4.75 4.75 -
Finance Direct - - - -
First Credit Union 5.85 3.99 4.49 -
Heartland 6.70 7.00 7.25 7.85
Heartland Bank - Online - - - -
Heretaunga Building Society 5.75 ▼4.65 ▼4.80 -
HSBC Premier 5.24 3.54 3.54 3.69
HSBC Premier LVR > 80% - - - -
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
HSBC Special - - - -
ICBC 5.15 3.18 3.18 3.20
Kainga Ora 5.18 3.97 4.05 4.39
Kiwibank ▼5.15 4.20 4.30 4.64
Kiwibank - Capped - - - -
Kiwibank - Offset 5.15 - - -
Kiwibank Special - 3.45 3.55 3.89
Liberty 5.69 - - -
Napier Building Society - - - -
Nelson Building Society 5.70 4.25 4.15 -
Pepper Money Near Prime 5.64 - 5.44 5.44
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
Pepper Money Prime 5.18 - 4.98 4.98
Pepper Money Specialist 7.59 - 7.39 7.39
Resimac 4.50 ▼4.45 3.89 3.94
RESIMAC Special - - - -
SBS Bank 5.29 4.85 5.05 5.49
SBS Bank Special - 3.39 ▲3.55 3.89
Sovereign 5.30 3.89 4.05 4.39
Sovereign Special - 3.39 3.55 3.89
The Co-operative Bank - Owner Occ 5.15 3.49 3.59 3.89
The Co-operative Bank - Standard 5.15 3.99 4.09 4.39
TSB Bank 6.09 4.19 4.35 4.69
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
TSB Special 5.29 3.39 3.55 3.89
Wairarapa Building Society ▼5.50 ▼3.95 ▼4.05 -
Westpac 5.34 4.15 4.09 4.49
Westpac - Offset 5.34 - - -
Westpac Special - 3.39 3.55 3.99
Median 5.34 3.97 4.05 4.39

Last updated: 23 January 2020 4:42pm

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