FMA to investigate suspicious ANZ house sale to former CEO's wife

The agency tasked with ensuring banks obey the law is looking into ANZ's sale of a house to the wife of its former chief executive at well below its valuation.

David Hisco left ANZ earlier this month under a cloud after it was revealed he had been spending up on chauffeur-driven cars and wine storage and recording them as business expenses.

It's since been revealed an ANZ subsidiary, which bought Hisco's luxury St Heliers pad in 2011 for $7.5 million, sold it to Deborah Veronica Walsh in 2017 for only $6.9 million. It was reportedly valued at $10.75 million at the time, a beneficiary of the booming Auckland housing market in the post-global financial crisis years.

ANZ said the sale price was based on independent valuations. That same year, the company's annual report said no director of the company or immediate relatives had "any dealing with the banking group... which could otherwise be reasonably likely to influence materially the exercise of the director's duties as a director of the bank".

In addition to being the chief executive, Hisco was a director.

The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) told Newshub on Friday it's now taking a closer look.

"Following consultation with ANZ and the RBNZ, ANZ approached the FMA and will voluntarily provide the FMA with all relevant information regarding its reporting of related party transactions in its financial statements (that has been the subject of recent media commentary). The FMA will consider the information provided to determine what further steps are required."

The housing sale was not mentioned at the time director Sir John Key announced Hisco was leaving the company, Sir John only talking about inappropriate expenses in the range of "tens of thousands of dollars". 

"Regardless of who you are at ANZ, if you're a young teller on the first day of your job or a CEO of 39 years' experience, the standards are the same."

Hisco, who was reportedly paid nearly $4 million last year, has been temporarily replaced by Antonia Watson.