ANZ Had To Take Back A Decision About Axing Its Equity Derivatives Business

Mike Smith (Photo: Bloomberg)

A decision to axe the ANZ equity derivative business was partially reversed after pressure from some of the bank’s private clients.

Last month ANZ said it planned to axe its equity derivatives trading globally within six months, and that sales of equity derivatives to private clients would be wound down.

However, the bank has now decided to keep its equity derivatives team in place. It is understood there were complaints from customers about the decision, and it was also taken just before one of the busiest times of the year — with the end of the financial year on June 30.

“A decision was made to retain a small group of employees to assist private bank customers with equity products,” a spokesperson for the bank said in an emailed statement.

“The decision was made following further consultation between our International & Institutional Banking and Global Wealth business and feedback that this was an important offering for Private Wealth customers,” the spokesperson said.

It is understood the issue went all the way to the office of chief executive Mike Smith. ANZ declined to comment on this.

Equity derivatives were, and remain a niche business for ANZ, and it is understood only a handful of employees were affected by the original decision to shutter the Australia-based equity derivatives business.

ANZ is going through a period of change as the bank tries to position itself for growth in services to Asia. It also recently let go of some economists, including Ivan Colhoun, the chief economist for Australia.

ANZ is not the only large bank to move away from derivatives. Macquarie Group also closed some of its institutional derivative businesses in the United States, Britain, Asia and South Africa in 2013, and retail derivatives in Germany.

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