ANZ chief executive Shayne Elliott said the bank won’t be embracing robo-advice any time soon. And opportunities are less in Australia for fintechs.
Speaking at a Reuters Newsmaker event in Sydney yesterday, Elliott told attendees that ANZ’s focus moving forward is on becoming the best bank in the world and increasing its competitive advantage – a strategy he doesn’t think robo-advice could contribute to.
“We have looked into robo-advice, and I do think there is a role for it now and in the future. But the question is whether it’s something we could do better than everybody else, and I’m not convinced. We have done a few trials and there’s a lot of exciting stuff there, but I’m not sure it’s anything that would differentiate us,” Elliott said.
“There are a lot of things we could do, but it doesn’t necessarily mean we should do them. I think there are more meaningful things we should invest in right now.”
Elliott did admit that he is concerned about the threat to the traditional banking system posed by fintech. Though, he doesn’t believe the opportunity for fintechs to thrive is as abundant in Australia due to the efficient nature of the market.
“I worry about fintech just as I worry about any kind of competition. But I do think the opportunities are less in Australia for fintech than in other regions, we don’t have the kind of glaring inefficiencies that you see – even in parts of the United States – that make them a much more attractive place for disruption,” Elliott said.
However, Elliott acknowledged the “really good thinking” occurring in fintech and hinted at a potential partnership in the future.
“We do think that there’s an opportunity for us to possibly work with them. You have to understand that we’ve got something of enormous value, which is a lot of customers that trust ANZ,” Elliott said.
Placing a move into robo-advice on the backburner comes as part of the bank’s decision to downsize, with the recent sale of its branch network across five Asian countries to DBS Bank and the potential sale of its wealth business, and is also part of the institution’s strategy for transforming the business’ culture.
Elliott said that the bank’s conglomerate presence in the past caused a failing in terms of visibility across all aspects of the business, saying that the complex structure of the organisation meant there was no way of really knowing what was going on at all times but ANZ is working towards changing that.
“We’ve made a lot of symbolic changes in terms of making us a more humble organisation, in terms of how senior executives behave, how we interact with people and what we talk about…We’re changing that in two ways, having less things to do – less products, less places, less product groups – and making sure that the way we run them is appropriate,” Elliott said.
“We actually want to be smaller, to be better. And we want to do what we’re good at even better. I figure a smaller bank and a simpler bank will be easier to manage.”