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Westpac & ANZ share prices: a $9 million fine and new CEO is named

Both of the big four bank’s stock fell today: Westpac was slapped with a $9 million fine from ASIC and ANZ named a new CEO for its New Zealand operations.

Westpac and ANZ news developments in focus Source: Bloomberg

Westpac share price: dour news persists

As if AUSTRAC and APRA’s scrutiny wasn't enough, Westpac has today been hit with a $9 million fine by the corporate regulator. Though a ways off the potential multi-billion fine the bank is facing from AUSTRAC – it highlights the mounting regulatory pressure for Westpac and the big four in general.

Centrally concerning the provision of poor financial advice, the Federal Court of Australia today found Westpac guilty of contravening Section 961K of the Corporations Act on 22 occasions.

As part of this court case, which commenced in April 2019, it was found that Mr Sudhir Sinha – a Senior Westpac Financial Planner – had ‘failed to act in the best interests of his clients, provided inappropriate financial advice, and failed to prioritise the interests of his clients, in four sample client files identified by ASIC.’

‘Westpac is directly liable for these breaches, which attracts a significant civil penalty, because the law imposes a specific liability on licensees for the breaches of their financial advisers,’ noted the regulator.

Mr Sinha was banned from providing financial services advice – for five years – in June 2017.

The Westpac (ASX: WBC) share price dropped with the broader market today, falling 0.49% – to hit $24.38 per share by the late afternoon.

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ANZ share price: a new CEO revealed

In more optimistic news, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ) today announced the appointment of a new Chief Executive Officer to the bank’s New Zealand arm.

Sourced internally, the bank revealed that Antonia Watson will take the top spot at ANZ NZ.

'Ms Watson joined ANZ NZ in 2009 as financial controller before becoming Chief Financial Officer in 2012. In 2017 she was appointed Managing Director Retail and Business Banking'

'Having grown up in Auckland, she graduated from Otago University with a Bachelor of Commerce degree with honours, and later became a qualified accountant. She has previously worked for KPMG in New Zealand and Morgan Stanley in London, Sydney and Budapesy,’ the Bank further said.

Ms Watson will be the first New Zealand woman to take on the Chief Executive role at ANZ.

With the Managing Director of Retail and Business Banking position now empty, Ben Kelleher will take up this role in an acting capacity until a suitable candidate is sourced.

By the late afternoon the ANZ share price had fallen almost half a percent, to $24.92 per share.

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