ASIC goes after ANZ over shares

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - BUSINESS -

THE cor­po­rate reg­u­la­tor has be­gun civil penalty pro­ceed­ings against ANZ over al­leged breached of its con­tin­u­ous dis­clo­sure obli­ga­tions dur­ing a 2015 cap­i­tal rais­ing.

ASIC al­leges that ANZ, which has al­ready been charged with crim­i­nal car­tel of­fences re­lated to the rais­ing, should have ad­vised the mar­ket that the in­vest­ment banks in­volved in the deal took up nearly a third of the shares in the place­ment.

“ANZ will de­fend these al­le­ga­tions,” the bank said yes­ter­day in a state­ment to the ASX.

“ANZ is not aware of a prece­dent for a listed en­tity to dis­close the take up of shares by un­der­writ­ers in an equity place­ment.”

ASIC al­leges ANZ should have told in­vestors Deutsche Bank, Cit­i­group and JPMor­gan took up ap­prox­i­mately 25.5 mil­lion of the 80.8 mil­lion shares placed.

But ANZ chief risk of­fi­cer Kevin Cor­bally de­nied any mis­con­duct.

“ANZ’s dis­clo­sure in re­la­tion to the place­ment was in ac­cor­dance with its ASX dis­clo­sure obli­ga­tions as well as mar­ket prac­tice,” he said.

The 2015 rais­ing was in re­sponse to the ma­jor banks be­ing re­quired to hold more money in re­serve against their mort­gage lend­ing.

But ANZ’s rais­ing, which com­prised the place­ment and a $500-mil­lion share pur­chase plan for or­di­nary share­hold­ers, caught the mar­ket by sur­prise be­cause then-chief ex­ec­u­tive Mike Smith had sug­gested it would not be nec­es­sary.

ANZ shares suf­fered their big­gest one-day fall in nearly seven years on the an­nounce­ment.

ASIC says it has be­gun civil penalty pro­ceed­ings against ANZ.

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