ANZ IB leads Asia strategy revitalisation
(15 October 2018 - Asia) ANZ is seeking to expand in Asia again according to Mark Whelan, Head of Institutional Banking at ANZ, at the bank's Singapore Finance and Treasury Forum last week.
The Australian’s Glenda Korporaal reports that ANZ’s focus has shifted to institutional customers in particular within primary resources, finance, tech and agribusiness sectors. The forum was intended to inform customers that its major restructuring in Asia is almost completed and that the bank is now focused on steady expansion in the region. ANZ has sold the businesses acquired from RBS under previous CEO Mike Smith’s leadership in the wake of the GFC (global financial crisis), and is selling off stakes in local banks in Malaysia, Indonesia and China that no longer align with new Basel capital adequacy regulations.
Mr Whelan was appointed head of Institutional Banking in 2016 as part of a management restructure by current ANZ CEO Shayne Elliott. ANZ will ‘right size’ operations from up to a million retail customers across Asia and 27,000 corporate customers globally to 8000 customers once it completes restructuring, including selling commercial operations in PNG (Papua New Guinea). The bank is still the process of selling its long standing 24 percent stake in Malaysia’s AmBank and 39 percent stake in Indonesia’s Panin Bank. Mr Whelan said agriculture and technology were key areaa where the bank planned to step up its focus in Asia, given the increasing demand for high-quality food from the growing middle classes of the region and there was a “back to the future” tone about ANZ’s slimmed-down Asia strategy. “We bank the agriculture sector heavily, which ties into Asia. We were one of the first bankers to Alibaba” Mr Whelan stated.
“In our division we have lost about 21 percent of our workforce and about 25 per cent of our risk-weighted assets globally. Excluding our business in PNG, we have dropped about 30 to 40 per cent of our customer base. It has been painful. We have taken some products off the shelf and significantly simplified the business. That is always painful, but that is behind us. There is now a pivot to growth and a focus on revenue generation from the customers and the sectors we are in now. We are just going to be a much stronger business” Mr Whelan commented.
“We are not trying to do everything for everybody. We are focusing on key customers who have significant business and trade flows in the Asia-Pacific region. One of the constant frustrations for us has been, while we have been reshaping our business, many people had the impression that we have been exiting Asia. We are still in 15 countries in Asia and we remain committed to them, particularly for our institutional business. We have already exited about 8000 corporate customers over the last three years, They were commercial customers in Asia. We just couldn’t service them well and there were others in the institutional framework we felt we couldn’t service appropriately. We have chosen the customers we want to deal with. They are predominantly in four or five key sectors. We are very heavily focused on financial institutions, including banks and funds. We have always been a resources bank, with a focus on resources, energy and infrastructure” said Mr Whelan.