ANZ to escape punishment over dubious house sale

ANZ is unlikely to face any consequences over its failure to disclose a house sale involving the former CEO's wife. 

The Financial Markets Authority has found the purchase of the St Helier's home should have been recorded as a related party transaction. 

David Hisco left ANZ in June 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 later emerged that 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. 

Authority CEO Rob Everett says the bank has been asked to make a corrective statement - but there will be no further sanctions. 

"Pursuing legal action against them would be very expensive for the taxpayer and actually wouldn't achieve much, because the relevant information on the house purchase is out there already."  

ANZ disagrees with the findings, saying the price was based on independent valuations. 

Everett says while ANZ has not been found to have broken the law, since it hasn’t been tested in court, it is a matter of transparency. 

"Our view is, how big financial institutions in particular, deal with their senior staff is a matter of interest to investors. Maybe that's a point of clarity that needed landing with ANZ... 

"We would not argue that this transaction was material to ANZ financially at all, but it might be material to some people - more in terms of just general dealings at the top of the organisation." 

Hisco was also a director of the company at the time of the sale. 

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