ANZ's CEO yesterday voiced fresh frustration over APRA's approach to the measurement of capital and said the bank may have to adapt its strategy if the regulator sticks with its present approach.
Mike Smith, chief executive of ANZ, told Reuters
that if the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority does not modify its plans - relating to the treatment of minority investments - then the bank would consider selling down its stakes.
While a couple of key stakes would be kept, several ANZ investments may not produce much value. Most of these investments date from the time before Smith was hired as CEO, in 2007, and steered the bank towards a strategy of building wholly owned banking operations in key Asian markets.
Those with strategic value include the 20 per cent holding in Shanghai Rural Commercial Bank.
China is reviewing its policy on foreign ownership of banks and may allow foreign banks to own more than 20 per cent of any one bank.
ANZ, on the other hand, has already allowed a dilution of its stake in the Bank of Tianjin.
The bank's 24 percent of AMMB in Malaysia is probably strategic, with the bank patiently waiting for a policy review that may allow an increase in its holding.
Those stakes most readily sold include that in Bank of Tianjin; the 39 per cent stake in ANZ Panin (which ANZ bought from Westpac 18 years ago); and the 50 per cent holding in the Metrobank cards' business in the Philippines.
ANZ has already sold its 10 per cent stake in Sacom, in Vietnam.