ANZ sells its superannuation business

Alison Banney 18 October 2017 NEWS

ANZ bank 738

ANZ has sold its superannuation, pensions and wealth management arm for $975 million.

The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) on Tuesday announced the sale of its superannuation, pensions and wealth management division, OnePath, to financial services firm IOOF. The banking giant sold the business for $975 million, with the division boasting almost $70 billion of funds under management.

The bank will continue to focus on traditional retail and business banking products including home loans, savings accounts and personal loans. The move comes at a time when the big banks have been widely criticised for aggressively cross-selling superannuation and wealth management products to their retail banking customers.

The criticism has largely come from the industry superannuation sector as it tries to stop the banks from growing their already dominant market position by getting their hands on Australians' retirement savings. In March, Industry Super Australia launched a campaign attacking the big banks, warning Australian consumers to keep bank 'foxes' out of the superannuation hen-house. The tagline of the campaign read 'banks aren't super'.

The banks have been lobbying for the greater part of the year for more access to consumers' superannuation. In March, Industry Super Australia chief executive David Whiteley said, "The banks are quietly pressuring federal politicians to remove the laws that protect Australians who save through workplace default funds; if they succeed the super savings of millions of Australians could be at risk."

ANZ group executive wealth Australia Alexis George said the sale of its superannuation and wealth management arm would allow the bank to continue to provide access to super and investment products from a specialist provider. Meanwhile, it would focus its efforts on developing stronger retail bank products.

“Financial services such as superannuation, investments and advice are a core part of the support we provide ANZ customers now and in the future. By partnering with IOOF, we are able to create greater value for our shareholders while also providing our customers with access to quality wealth products from a specialist provider with the right cultural fit, financial strength and digital capability.”

This link between ANZ and the new financial services partner is still a concern for the super industry. Matt Linden of Industry Super Australia told The New Daily, "The decision by ANZ today still does not address the problem of banks cross selling superannuation products."

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