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ANZ boss takes hard line on impropriety

Photo / Dean Purcell
Photo / Dean Purcell

ANZ Bank chief executive Shayne Elliott has vowed to tackle any inappropriate behaviour at the bank following allegations by two former traders of impropriety.

In an email sent to staff on Tuesday, Elliott said the bank's conduct underpins its reputation, and its reputation with customers and the community is "everything".

"My commitment to you is that we will tackle any instances of unacceptable behaviour head-on, wherever it happens at ANZ," Elliott said.

Elliott, who took the reins from Mike Smith on January 1, acknowledged there had been some problems within its Global Markets division, which were quickly addressed.

"I want to be upfront with you. There have been challenges in small pockets of Global Markets and we have investigated and dealt with the conduct issues as we became aware of them," he said. "While we know many of the allegations made by these former employees are not true, we can't tolerate unacceptable behaviour in any part of our business."

Elliott reiterated that the bank will defend itself against allegations made by two of its former traders, Etienne Alexiou and Patrick O'Connor. Both men were sacked last year by ANZ for "serious breaches of ANZ's code of conduct, policies and values".

In separate claims, Alexiou is seeking $30 million and O'Connor is claiming $5 million for damages, lost bonuses and lost income following their dismissals.

The claims include allegations of drug use on the bank's dealing room floor and a toxic culture within the senior ranks of the global market division, which was allegedly at odds with the bank's code of conduct.

ANZ last week said O'Connor's dismissal related to abuse of a company-issued credit card and both O'Connor's and Alexiou's dismissals related to highly inappropriate and offensive electronic communication.

"We'll have our day in court with these two individuals and in the end I know we will prevail," Elliott said in the email to staff.

- AAP

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