ANZ: ‘We are at a tipping point’

ANZ’s Mike Smith has addressed shareholders at the bank’s annual general meeting in Melbourne.

Mr Smith said ANZ is now at a “tipping point” where its strategy positions it to take full advantage of the “big shifts that are reshaping the region”.

“Addressing these big shifts is at the very heart of our strategy and now, more than ever, it’s critical that we get ahead of these shifts because the world is changing fast,” he said.

“Today we live in an age where the spirit of Moore’s Law – the theory that computer processing speed doubles every two years – actually seems to apply to many areas of life; from the adoption of new technologies, to urbanisation, to the impacts of climate change.”

Mr Smith said that in a fast-changing world, ANZ must take “quantum leaps” rather than make small incremental steps to take advantage of the forces shaping the region and the opportunities they are creating.

Noting Australia’s recent free trade agreement (FTA) with China, Mr Smith said ANZ has a pivotal role to play in facilitating trade and investment.

“As a bank, we have always stood by people and companies that work hard to build good businesses; we are the bank for those who want to step out and take advantage of the new global economy,” he said.

Also speaking at the group’s AGM yesterday was ANZ chairman David Gonski, who explained that during his last time at ANZ, the board knew it had to be in Asia.

“We just didn’t know how,” he said.

“Mike’s [ANZ chief executive Mike Smith] super regional strategy has very successfully provided the ‘how’.”

Mr Gonski explained that the bank’s super regional strategy involves strengthening the core franchises in its home markets of Australia and New Zealand and focusing on profitable growth in Asia by servicing trade, capital and wealth flows into and across the region.

“Our international business in Asia Pacific, Europe and America, now drives nearly a quarter of our total revenues,” he said.

“This provides ANZ with meaningful growth options without the need to take on additional risk.”

This financial year ANZ posted a statutory profit up 15 per cent to $7.3 billion.

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