Australia and New Zealand Banking Group to sell Etrade – what you need to know

What: According to a report in the Australian Financial Review’s (AFR) Street Talk section, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ) is looking to offload its online broking unit Etrade Australia.

Etrade is the second most popular online broking platform after CommSec which is owned by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA).

So What: The move comes at an interesting time with the AFR also reporting that the ANZ Bank’s license to use the Etrade brand is not expected to be renewed when it comes up for renewal in the middle of this year.

That means the bank will have to change the name of the business and hence lose the goodwill associated with the Etrade brand – the timing of which could correspond with an attempt to offload the profitable business unit.

Now What: With a change in Chief Executive Officer from the Asia-led growth strategy of Mike Smith to new boss Shayne Elliot, ANZ Bank is in the midst of a realignment of its strategy.

This strategy has involved the sale of assets in China, Malaysia, Indonesia and New Zealand. It appears that the online broking arm is next on the chopping block.

With many investors being nervous about Mr Smith’s vision to focus the group’s growth ambitions in Asia, this latest announcement may be welcome news to those investors who would prefer to see ANZ sticking to its core strengths in domestic banking services.

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Motley Fool contributor Tim McArthur has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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