Under the hood: bank to the future with 1835i

Since its inception, ANZ’s investments and innovations arm – known as ANZi – has focused on working with new and upcoming businesses to create products and services which will benefit the bank’s customers and drive value for shareholders.

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With a number of successful ventures on the books, ANZ Group Executive Digital Banking Maile Carnegie says the time is right for ANZi to “leave the mothership”.

"Everything we do is aligned around how does this benefit ANZ - our staff, customers and partners. That's critical.” - Ron Spector

“[The ANZi team] have done a terrific job gaining momentum,” Carnegie explained on a podcast with bluenotes. “They deeply understand the strategy, the company and the networks within ANZ. The strategic alignment is really tight. Now it's time to let them start running at a pace, knowing they understand… what they need to deliver back to [ANZ].”

Once spun out from the bank, the division will be renamed “1835i” – a nod to the year the Bank of Australasia (now ANZ) was established under Royal Charter.

Click here for a transcript of this podcast

People power

ANZi Managing Director Ron Spector, who joined Carnegie on the podcast, says the intent is not to leave the bank altogether but rather move just outside ANZ’s “gravitational pull” to run faster with less friction and more efficiency.

“We see a big speed component, business efficiency and a cost advantage,” Spector explains. “We also have a better chance in a highly competitive environment to recruit and retain the best talent. I don't think anybody is struggling with the strategy of what financial services institutions need to do to respond to the digital revolution and disruption from technology platforms. It's all about execution and [that] comes down to the people.”

Strategic alignment

Spector says by learning from the mistakes of other companies across the market and world in the early years of bank venture capital models, ANZ designed a function that has been able to solve problems and take advantage of opportunities that benefit the bank faster.

“The [thing we do] differently is the integrated function [which] works around a specific strategic thesis articulated by [ANZ CEO] Shayne Elliott and his Executive Committee,” Spector says.

“There are a lot of interesting, fun, creative things you can do in the world but if it's not aligned to the strategic outcomes the bank requires and needs, then it's doomed to failure.

“Everything we do is… aligned around how does this benefit ANZ - our staff, customers and partners - either by bringing new products and services or new capabilities. That's critical.”

Shareholder value

Delving further into the details of how this move will benefit ANZ shareholders, Carnegie says a focus on partnerships will be where banks globally can “win the war” in the future.

“When you look at innovation globally, the vast majority is typically happening outside the company rather than inside,” Carnegie says.

“Having a team [of] great partners is going to accelerate value for our shareholders. [The 1835i team] is going to be able to move much faster [so] we'll start seeing accelerated benefits for shareholders.”

Spector explains although some companies do look to partner with multiple international banks or other major Australian banks, a key reason many companies are interested in partnering with ANZ is the culture built by the bank over the past four or five years.

[ANZ] is perceived as a bank undergoing transformation … culturally, technologically and in simplifying the business. We also work hard to add a lot of value outside the context of a relationship with ANZ. There's a general appreciation… we go in and help young companies grow and prosper.”

Next steps

On what she expects to see from 1835i over the next three to five years, Carnegie says she is excited to demonstrate to shareholders the impact to the bank’s core business from investing in and partnering with new businesses to create competitive advantage through data and engagement.

“We're on the cusp of something really exciting,” she says. “What [the team has] delivered to-date is outstanding and I can't wait to see what we're able to do in a couple of years.”

Carnegie and Spector also discussed some of the upcoming businesses and products being worked on by ANZi, what the bank of the future might look like and why Australia needs to ramp up its focus on innovation.

You can listen to the full conversation in the podcast above. You can also learn more about some of the businesses already on ANZi’s books in bluenotes’Under the hood” series.

Andrew Cornell is Managing Editor of bluenotes

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