ASIC moves against Westpac, ANZ improves mortgage rankings, Pepper overachieves

Westpac shares are slipping as news breaks that ASIC has accused the big bank of insider trading. The action appears to be related to work done during the privatization of Ausgrid in 2016, and concerns interest rate hedging. Westpac executed a $12 billion interest rate swap deal with Australian Super and another consortium.

ASIC has launched proceedings in the Federal Court, and is alleging both non-compliance with the bank’s financial services licence and unconscionable conduct.

ASIC has already started action against the bank this year.

ANZ has just released its first-half results, following Westpac’s announcement on Monday, and CEO Shayne Elliot must be pleased – the big four bank has announced a 126 percent jump in profit to a whisker under $3 billion, fuelled in no small part by the bank’s release of almost $500 million in provisions it had made last year as the pandemic spread.

The released figures also show ANZ has jumped ahead of arch rival NAB to take third position in Australia’s largest home lender stakes for the first half of the year.

During the first half of the financial year, ANZ added $281 billion in home loans. This increased its market share by 0.4%.

Pepper, one of Australia’s largest non-bank lenders looks like it has taken a step closer to its IPO. An email leaked to the AFR shows that the deal which  values Pepper at $2.89 a share is already oversubscribed by institutional investors, reaching the $450 million backing required. The deal would value Pepper at over 10 times its forecast 2021 post tax profits.

Liberty Financial, a listed close competitor of Pepper is valued at around 11.8 times 2021 earnings.