Elliott: pleasing progress in bank strategy

ANZ Chief Executive Shayne Elliott says the bank’s operating environment is the most different it has been in nearly 30-years, resulting in both headwinds and opportunities for growth.

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Pic: ANZ Chief Executive Officer Shayne Elliott

ANZ’s statutory profit after tax for the half year ended 31 March 2022 was $A3,530 million, up 10 per cent on the previous half.

“We launched ANZ Plus, our new platform for long-term growth into our retail strategy and we announced the separation of our Commercial bank into a new division.” – Shayne Elliott

Speaking with bluenotes on video, Elliott said rising interest rates and increased inflation are causing uncertainty but customers are well prepared for the future having paid down debts and put money aside for a rainy day over the course of the last few years.

“It is uncertain but… the bank’s balance sheet in particular is in really good shape to be able to deal with it and to help people through this next phase of transition,” he said.

Elliott says he’s pleased with the strategic progress the bank made in the half with the launch of the first ANZ Plus proposition, New Zealand and Institutional banking standing out as highlights.

Click here to read the transcript

“Institutional and New Zealand are in really good shape. And together they’re well over half of our capital as a bank,” Elliott explained. “Australia [had] a little bit tougher environment for us at ANZ and for the industry. [It was a] very competitive period of time but nonetheless we strengthened our strategic position.

“We launched ANZ Plus, our new platform for long-term growth into our retail strategy, and we announced the separation of our Commercial bank into a new division to unlock its own growth potential in the future.”

Elliott says the Markets business faced headwinds this half however he’s confident about it returning to normal in the future.

Looking forward

On the growing momentum of the new ANZ Plus proposition, Elliott says although it’s early days, the more contemporary service model allows the bank to deploy features and functions at-pace and at low cost, safely.

“That really positions us [well] for the future, all built around this idea of financial wellbeing… We started simple,” he said. “You just get something to market that works, that's really basic and then you iterate and build from there based on customer feedback.”

On capital management, Elliott says the bank has been mindful of being prudent custodians of shareholder money, having undertaken strategic buybacks over the past five or six years.

“We led the market in capital management of the firm and just completed our $A1.5 billion buyback. That brings the total buyback to $A5.5 billion dollars over the last five years,” he said.

However with the changing environment, Elliott said the bank would continue to actively manage capital while maintaining flexibility for future opportunities although there was nothing immediate to announce.

On plans to set up a non-operating holding company structure to enable growth in the “non-banking” services provided by ANZ, Elliott said the initial group will be “relatively small and modest”.

“It's the next step in the evolution of building an agile, contemporary organisation that's better able to serve its customers.”

You can listen to the full conversation by watching to the video above.

Andrew Cornell is Managing Editor of bluenotes

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