Citi men at the core of ANZ’s growth strategy

IFR 2039 28 June to 4 July 2014
6 min read

ALEX THURSBY’S DECISION around 15 months ago to leave ANZ to become CEO of National Bank of Abu Dhabi appears to have led to another one of those ”getting the band back together again” moments. To replace its former head of international and institutional banking, ANZ hired Lloyds Banking Group’s CEO of wholesale banking and markets Andrew Geczy, who had joined Lloyds from his own firm Manresa Partners.

Prior to founding Manresa, however, Geczy worked for 14 years until 2005 at Citigroup, where he held a number of corporate and institutional banking roles, including global head of structured corporate finance. Citigroup is the key to this tale, as Geczy has just poached Citi veteran and the US bank’s head of Asia-Pacific corporate and investment banking Farhan Faruqui to be its CEO of international banking.

This is something of a coup, since the very affable Faruqui had been at Citi for 23 years and had long been tipped as one of those destined for ever greater things, a notion supported by serial promotions over a number of years before being given his current position in 2009.

The bank said Faruqui would be “responsible for supporting ANZ’s super-regional strategy by improving the connectivity between ANZ’s 33 markets with a diverse set of customers”. ANZ definitely has a smaller platform than Citi but what it calls its super-regional strategy certainly has its attractions, and ANZ has assembled a pretty formidable group of people in its international and institutional banking division and elsewhere to deliver on it.

The stated aim of the bank’s super-regional strategy is to expand its presence in Asia-Pacific and source 25%–30% of earnings from its Asia-Pacific, Europe and America division by 2017.

In his new role, Faruqui will have the heads of international banking in Australia and New Zealand as well as country CEOs in Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and America reporting to him.

ANZ has already made some headway in achieving super-regional credentials

MAINTAINING THE CITI theme, ANZ’s MD of Asia-Pacific retail banking Sanjoy Sen was a 20-year-plus Citi man until 2012, while Drew Riethmuller, MD of global relationship banking, with responsibility for global institutional relationships across the globe, was a 17-year Citigroup man before joining ANZ in 2009 as global head the FIG group. And Truett Tate, ANZ’s CEO and head of institutional relationship banking in the Americas as of late 2012, was head of wholesale and international banking at Lloyds but had previously spent 27 years at Citigroup.

Mark Robinson, until very recently ANZ’s CEO for Europe, Middle East, India and the US, and the man formerly responsible for reviewing strategic opportunities in the Western Hemisphere, joined the Australian bank in 2010 from – you’ve guessed it – Citigroup, where he spent more than 25 years, most recently as CEO for Citi’s South Asia regional business.

(Incidentally, even though Robinson has left, it didn’t occur to the bank to remove his bio from the management portion of the website. And while I’m on this subject, Malcolm Perry, formerly CAO of IIB, whom I knew when he was global head of fixed-income at Dresdner Kleinwort in London in the mid-2000s, has also left, but he’s also still listed … come on guys, wake up!)

So when Faruqui starts at ANZ in August, it’ll be like a home from home. Of course it’s not just a Citi thing: ANZ has also hired in senior talent from HSBC and Standard Chartered and can also draw on the talents of Steve Bellotti, head of global markets and loans, who joined the bank in 2010. Bellotti’s a bit of a face; before ANZ, he worked at his own firm Blue Sky Capital and prior to a short period as head of capital markets at Dresdner, spent 13 years at Merrill Lynch, most latterly as head of European debt sales and trading, derivatives, DCM and structured finance. He also served as global head of FX sales and trading.

I DON’T SEE the bank’s credentials across the entire CIB spectrum, but a glance at Thomson Reuters’ league tables across loan syndications and capital markets suggests that ANZ has already made some headway in achieving super-regional credentials, certainly in syndicated lending and, to a lesser extent, project finance.

The bank ranks fifth in Asia-Pacific syndicated loans in the year to-date, ranking behind the Japanese Big Three commercial banks (Mizuho, SMBC and MUFG) and State Bank of India. Like the Japanese Big Three, ANZ’s tally of syndications is pretty broadly spread geographically; as well as straight syndicated lending, the bank has also done some project lending across telecoms, oil and gas, and mining.

On a global scale, ANZ just scrapes into the Top 25 league table ex-US with just shy of US$8bn of credit to its name. You’d imagine that bringing in people of the stature of Faruqui signals the start of a push in the build-out of ANZ’s CIB platform and that 25th just won’t cut it – even despite the super-regional as opposed to global focus – as he gets to works with the old Citi gang and the IIB divisions – including global head of loan syndications and old sparring partner John Corrin – to pull it all together and build on pan-regional execution.

With 2017 not that far off, watch out for those progress reports.

Keith Mullin