Effective engagement with our stakeholders, including shareholders, customers, employees, governments, regulators or non-government organisations, is essential if we are to understand and respond to their expectations.

Our Most Material Issues

Our annual materiality assessment is informed by engagement with internal and external stakeholders. The assessment builds a clear picture of those issues that have the most potential to impact our value creation. These issues may change over time, reflecting developments in our business and external operating environment and the changing expectations of stakeholders. We use the results of the assessment to inform our strategy, reporting and sustainability targets.

This year, stakeholders ranked the following issues (risks or opportunities) as having the most potential to impact our value creation in the short, medium and long-term:

Fairness and ethical conduct: remains the highest ranked issue. This year our stakeholders told us to work harder to 'get it right every time’, strengthen our processes, lend responsibly and prevent conduct issues.

Fraud and data security: while continued digital innovation was identified as a priority, associated with this was the ongoing need to educate customers and
the wider community about online risks and what they can do to improve their own data security and cyber safety.

Responsible business lending: ranked in the top three again this year, with stakeholders noting that expectations have heightened. Stakeholders spoke of the importance of engaging with our business customers to ensure the social and environmental impacts (including those related to human rights and climate change) of their operations are minimised. Our business customers also reminded us that policy changes can restrict the availability of capital, in turn potentially impacting their competitiveness and the strength of the economy. NGOs emphasised the importance of reducing the emissions intensity of our business lending portfolio.

Customer experience: customers told us that if they believe their success is important to ANZ and they feel valued by ANZ, they will stay with us. Stakeholders also highlighted fairness, transparency and simplicity of products as central to building customer and community trust.

Digital innovation: remains core to ANZ’s value creation, with employees citing the challenges presented by legacy systems and inherited processes. It is now more important than ever that we move at a fast pace to keep up with digital change and customer expectations or, better still, lead the way.

The key steps in our 2017 materiality process, as well as the full list of our material issues, is discussed in detail in our 2017 ANZ Corporate Sustainability Review available on anz.com/cs in December. Stakeholder engagement (outside of the materiality assessment), including issues raised and how we responded, is also discussed.

“It is increasingly important for businesses to ensure fairness is part of their customer experience amid an environment of wavering corporate trust.”
— Colin Neave, Customer Fairness Advisor, ANZ

Making Things Fairer For Our Customers

Serving our customers fairly and well is at the heart of our business and long-term returns for shareholders. During 2017 we have undertaken many changes to better serve our customers and make banking fairer.

In August the CEO wrote to all of our people about 'The ANZ Way', a guide to the way we work and our promises to customers. 'The ANZ Way' makes it clear that we will raise standards in everything we do, going beyond complying with the law.

We have changed the structure of our branch and call centre remuneration to a new scorecard that emphasises good customer outcomes. We are looking to extend this structure to other parts of ANZ, reflecting the spirit of the banking industry’s Retail Banking Remuneration (Sedgwick) Review.

We have strengthened governance in our mortgage broker channel and are working with the industry and stakeholders to improve the structure of broker remuneration.

We are working with other banks to include new consumer protections in a shorter and simpler Banking Code of Practice, following the recommendations of the Independent Review of the Code of Banking Practice. We are re-writing our small business contracts to make them easier to understand and include better protections. We appointed Colin Neave, the former Australian Commonwealth Ombudsman, as ANZ’s Customer Fairness Advisor. Mr Neave has developed customer remediation principles to assure our customers that ANZ will acknowledge and compensate any failures quickly.

We have strengthened our processes for assessing customers’ applications for loans. ANZ will start sharing comprehensive credit data in the second half of 2018 to help support better lending practices across the industry.

New industry-wide recruitment and checking processes have been implemented to make it difficult for bankers or financial advisors with proven poor conduct records to move from firm to firm.

To deliver better quality financial advice, we are doing more audits using inputs from data analytics and providing improved training. If we don’t get our advice right, a dedicated ‘Advice Review Team’ reviews the advice and compensates customers.

ANZ has supported Government reforms that will commence in 2018 such as the 'one stop' Australian Financial Complaints Authority and the Banking Executive Accountability Regime.

To assist the Government’s Review into Open Banking, we have suggested a simple and safe pathway for data sharing. Open Banking will give customers better information on their banking services, and make it easier to compare products.


Pictured in header: Natalie Tran, ANZ Docklands

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