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John Symond defends Aussie on bank ownership

Aussie Home Loans executive chairman John Symond has backed his decision to sell the majority of Aussie Home Loans to CBA in light of the recent spotlight on vertical integration.

The final report of the Financial System Inquiry, which was released earlier this month, recommended increased disclosure of bank-owned brokerages.

Speaking to Mortgage Business about the recommendations, Aussie executive chairman John Symond said he is “all for disclosure” and has “no embarrassment” telling people that Commonwealth Bank is Aussie’s majority shareholder.

“If I wasn’t positive about CBA I wouldn’t have done the deal,” Mr Symond said.

“I always put my money where my mouth is,” he said. “I’ve got a big bag of CBA shares, so I believe in them.”

One of the deciding factors for Mr Symond, who received an estimated $185 million following CBA’s 2013 acquisition, was that he knew CBA is very aware of customer care and customer satisfaction.

“I look on the CBA ownership very positively,” he said.

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CBA’s ownership of Aussie has been highlighted throughout the Financial System Inquiry as an example of vertical integration in mortgage broking.

However, the inquiry’s final report failed to find any evidence that vertical integration creates conflicts of interest.

Mr Murray said his recommendations around disclosure for product manufacturers and distributors should clear up any issues with bank ownership.

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