Life insurance an ANZ stand-out



Despite a challenging environment, ANZ’s retail life business remains one of the bank's stand-out divisions, according to chief executive Shayne Elliott.

Speaking at a media roundtable on Friday, Mr Elliott described it as a “good business”.

“[The retail life business] is well run, it always has been and ANZ continues to do well in that space in particular,” he said.

“It’s a tough business, there is a lot of transformation and our business did remarkably well in the environment."

Commenting on industry changes, ANZ's managing director of wealth Australia, Alexis George, said that she was “disappointed” that the Life Insurance Framework (LIF) legislation hadn’t gone through parliament.

The Corporations Amendment (Life Insurance Remuneration Arrangements) Bill 2016 lapsed at prorogation on 17 April.

“I think it's disappointing actually and lot of work was done with the life insurance industry and they were a nice segue to a different model that wasn’t draconian. It was a nice movement to another model and ensuring that best interests were protected,” she said.

Ms George said that ANZ would push on with change nevertheless.

“We need to continue on with the other members about exception reporting to ensure that we have the best people in the industry and the bad people exit the industry,” she said.

“So were going to push on with the code of conduct from an industry perspective but we have to have another hard look at that to ensure that there was consumer protection, so we’ll absolutely push ahead with that.

Last week, ANZ reported that its half-year profits dipped by more than 20 per cent, following a restructure that was implemented to ensure the bank is "future ready".

In a statement, ANZ said its statutory profit after tax was $2.7 billion for the half-year ending on 31 March, down 22 per cent from the previous corresponding period.

ANZ announced in March that it would restructure its wealth management business, with changes that included the departure of group executive for wealth, Joyce Phillips.

The bank said the move is designed to "simplify" its approach to wealth management and align its wealth products and services with its retail and commercial business.

Mr Elliott later rejected notions that the change came because the bank's wealth division had fallen in value, saying that industry regulation and increased compliance obligations are part of what led to the restructure.

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