Financial Markets Authority chief executive Rob Everett has vented his frustration at ANZ bank for wasting the regulator's time with its poor handling of the sale of its former chief executive David Hisco's house.
"What a stupid thing for us at the regulators to have to spend four weeks nosing about and arguing with a whole bunch of people about," Everett told the audience at INFINZ financial industry conference at SkyCity today.
"We'd like to be doing value-added regulation for consumers, so having to deal with that sort of stuff is deeply frustrating."
Everett was speaking to the conference on the issue of financial sector culture and conduct.
In the Q&A session, he was asked by MC Fran O'Sullivan about the controversial sale of the luxury St Heliers property.
The revelation in June that the property, owned by ANZ subsidiary Arawata Assets Limited, was sold to Deborah Veronica Walsh - Hisco's wife - for what appeared to be a lower-than-market price, raised fresh questions about the nature of his employment deal and sudden departure, related to expense claims.
Hisco had already departed the country's biggest bank under a cloud, after an internal investigation found he had fudged expenses.
The 55-year-old Australian banker spent about $50,000 of the bank's money on personal wine storage and chauffeured cars - then billed it as a business expense.
ANZ said the mischaracterisation of the spending did not meet standards, and that Hisco's departure was "mutually agreed".
Media attention around Hisco's departure and the house sale effectively overshadowed a broader review of banking conduct and culture released by the Reserve Bank.
In August after investigating, the FMA said publicly that the ANZ sale should have been disclosed as a related-party transaction in its 2017 financial statements.
A Terranet Summary Report showed that the St Heliers house was purchased by ANZ New Zealand owned subsidiary company, Arawata Assets, in 2011 for $7.5 million.
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Despite a booming property market over the next six years, the property was on-sold to Hisco's wife Deborah Veronica Walsh in July 2017 for just $6.9m.
As of July 1 2017, the property at 269 St Heliers Bay Rd had a rating valuation of $10.75m, according to Terranet.
The FMA yesterday said the determination on the St Heliers house was primarily based on the nature of the transaction "which makes this disclosure material for the financial reporting purposes".
ANZ disagreed with the FMA's finding.
"As far as I can see, ANZ are the only people in New Zealand who didn't think that transaction was something that probably should have been given the light of day in a financial statement," Everett told the INFINZ conference today.
"I don't mind that they disagree but what a colossal waste of time.
"And what a shame that the attention of the public is on such a daft piece of activity and not on the good that banks bring to the economy."
Everett reminded the gathered financial industry players that it wasn't the FMA's wish to run a heavy-handed "one size fits all" regulatory regime.
The FMA was shifting to a more consumer-orientated regime, he said.
"What we will not be doing is spoonfeeding the industry and dictating to firms precisely what they have to do to get into our good books.
"We expect boards and management teams to be taking responsibility for how in their organisations conduct and conduct risk and good treatment of customers needs to sit."
In response today, an ANZ spokesman said the company was making changes.
"We've listened and will be changing our disclosure processes in future," the company said in a statement.