ANZ under investigation in Australia for alleged breach of disclosure rules
Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) said on Friday that the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) had advised that it has commenced civil penalty proceedings against the bank for failing to comply with its continuous disclosure obligations.
The Sydney and Wellington-listed bank said that, as it had previously announced, the proceedings related to an underwritten institutional share placement in August 2015, that was the subject of separate proceedings by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
ANZ said it had notified the Australian Securities Exchange of ASIC’s investigation on 1 June.
ASIC alleged that ANZ should have advised the market that the joint lead managers took up approximately 25.5 million shares of the placement, though ANZ said it would defend the allegations.
It said the shares in question represented less than 1% of the shares on issue at the time, and
were taken up by the joint lead managers in circumstances where the book indicated the placement was covered at 103%.
ANZ said it was not aware of a precedent for a listed entity to disclose the take up of shares by underwriters in an equity placement.
“ANZ's disclosure in relation to the placement was in accordance with its ASX disclosure obligations as well as market practice and we are defending the matter,” said the bank’s chief risk officer Kevin Corbally.
ANZ said it did not intend to provide further comment at the current time.