International banks plan a return to Australia
(25 May 2018 – Australia) As Australia’s big banks are focused on the Royal Commission, foreign banks are again looking to Australia as resources and infrastructure investment picks up.
Barclays is planning a return to the market only two years after leaving, with ABN AMRO expected to launch onshore banking operations in Australia in the second half. Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo and Paris-based Société Générale are also planning to re-open branches in Australia.
More are expected to follow given the economic growth outlook, an expected pick-up in investment in Australia’s resources sector as well as ongoing infrastructure investment.
Peter Davis, executive director for APAC corporate and institutional banking at ABN AMRO said, “We are seeing a lot of European banks who have expertise in new areas such as renewable energy join the market here, whereas initially some of the Australian banks were slow or the return expectations were not to their liking.”
Australian regulators are also encouraging the entry of foreign financial firms to facilitate competition and dilute the dominance of the country’s large institutions.