“In the past we were at times too focussed on the short-term profit of the group, rather than the long-term sustainability of our relationships and our obligations to all our stakeholders,” he said.
ANZ had made more than $300 million in provisions for repayments and compensation this year for past mistakes.
He said the interim report had “only strengthened our resolve to make ANZ simpler and better able to serve our customers”. He said it is “not adequate to simply blame our failures on the complexities of being a large organisation, or on our systems and processes”.
Mr Gonski told shareholders that 34 per cent of shareholders had voted against the remuneration report “and as a first strike occurs if 25 per cent vote against, we face a first strike at this meeting”.
“While not confined solely to the financial services industry, we know there is a heightened community concern about how we reward our executives,” Mr Gonski said.
“The board acknowledges the very real concerns of those who have voted against the report and I assure you we will continue to work hard in 2019 to ensure further alignment between compensation and shareholder interests. We have been making changes to remuneration for some years, including significantly reducing the compensation paid across the group.”
In his address, CEO Shayne Elliott said 2018 had been “a pivotal year” for the bank allowing it to “sow the seeds of change and long-term improvement. The royal commission was a difficult but, as we now recognise, a necessary process for the industry to achieve the meaningful change needed to regain the trust of the community.”
The questions and answer session is continuing.
Shareholders have been criticising lending to coal projects, while the Australian Shareholders’ Association criticised the $100,000 donation made by ANZ to both of the main political parties this year.
The meeting will soon vote on the election of former NZ Prime Minister John Key to the board.
The ASA representative also described the security at the Perth convention centre as being “over the top, heavy handed and inappropriate”.
“You need to remember, you are in Perth, not Paris,” he said.