The ANZ Bank's Australian wealth business is for sale

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The ANZ Bank, fresh from the first stage of offloading its Asia-based wealth management business, is now looking at selling the local Australian operation.

Announcing an 18% fall in full year cash profit to $5.9 billion, the bank also says its strategic business review includes a range of options.

“This includes the possible sale of the life insurance, advice and superannuation and investments businesses in Australia,” says the bank.

“ANZ will pursue a disciplined approach to this process and will update the market as appropriate.”

The wealth business in New Zealand will be looked at in 2017.

CEO Shayne Elliott says the decision to look at the Australian wealth business reflects a focus on how the bank can best interact with customers rather than manufacturing products.

“We’ve actually got a really good wealth business,” he says.

“Our business is very different than our peers. It’s more heavily weighted toward life insurance here in Australia.”

However, when looking at the future, the bank believes there are other areas to concentrate investment.

“How we create long term advantage, the way we engage with our customers, rather than the way we manufacture the product of life insurance,” Elliott says.

“That says the best thing we could do with our capital is to focus on digital solutions.”

Elliott says he’s not sure how long the process will take.

The banks priorities for 2017 include the sale of non-core businesses and minority investments.

The wealth Australia division cash profit for the year was down 24% to $327 million.

Operating income fell 2% to $1.244 billion and expenses up 6% to $796 million.

Insurance income was up 6% to $34 million but funds management income fell 9% to $44 million.

Detail on the 2016 contribution to cash profit:

Source: ANZ Bank

Earlier this week, the ANZ announced it is getting out of retail banking and wealth management in Asia.

The first leg of this is the sale to Singapore’s DBS Bank of the ANZ’s retail and wealth business in Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and Indonesia.

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