First NZ Capital has agreed to buy ANZ Bank New Zealand's online trading platform for an undisclosed sum as the broking firm expands into the direct wealth market.

Wellington-based FNZC has signed up to a strategic alliance with the country's biggest lender, buying the online platform currently known as ANZ Securities, which will return to its old name Direct Broking, while ANZ will use the relationship to keep strong retail distribution. The deal is expected to be completed in the second half of 2018, subject to unnamed closing steps and conditions.

"The alliance follows on with our recent hire of Fiona Mackenzie as head of direct wealth and demonstrates our commitment to provide New Zealand investors access to FNZC's market-leading trading capabilities via a world-class platform," FNZC James Lee said in a joint statement. "By combining our capabilities and allowing each organisation to focus on its core strengths, we aim to provide both FNZC's and ANZ's customers market-leading capital market solutions."

ANZ bought Direct Capital from Dorchester Pacific more than a decade ago.


At the time, Direct Broking was a pioneer in online share trading representing about 7 per cent of NZX turnover and was sold to ANZ for $5.1 million in 2006.

Companies Office filings show the unit generated broking revenue of $19.3 million for ANZ in the year ended Sept. 30, 2016, up from $18.8 million a year earlier and just $4 million of brokerage in 2007.

The bank said the exit was part of a group-wide initiative to simplify its business while retaining access to financial services that are no longer a fit with ANZ.

"This alliance reflects a continued focus by ANZ to simplify its business," ANZ institutional New Zealand managing director Paul Goodwin said. "ANZ recognises it does not need to own the technology required to provide our customers access to a share trading solution."

FNZC said it plans to enhance Direct Broking's online trading capability, giving investors access to its research, initial public offerings, new products, and liquidity, which over time will reap "considerable investment".