Own ANZ shares? Tech experts raise red flags over Suncorp integration

IT specialists reportedly believe the big four bank could struggle to integrate Suncorp's banking platform.

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Key points

  • ANZ's plan to integrate Suncorp Bank's tech system into its own has reportedly raised the eyebrows of industry insiders and tech experts  
  • The big four bank plans to merge both businesses' systems in coming years, realising $260 million of synergies in the process 
  • But doing so might not be as simple as is seemingly expected

The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd (ASX: ANZ) share price has lifted 7% since the 'big four' bank announced its plan to snap up Suncorp Group Ltd (ASX: SUN)'s banking segment.

But there could be a major roadblock to the $260 million of synergies expected to come from the $4.9 billion takeover. Namely, tech integration.

The ANZ share price is $23.01 in early trading on Tuesday, up another 1.7% so far today.

Let's take a closer look at the potential cost blowout flagged by tech experts.

Tech trouble in merger paradise?

It's been a little over a week since the ANZ share price was halted amid a capital raise ahead of its planned takeover of Suncorp's banking operations.

During that time, concerns the takeover could create a sizable technological dint (and a major ongoing expense) have emerged.

Integration of Suncorp's banking business has been forecast to set ANZ back to the tune of $680 million before tax, according to reports in the Australian Financial Review (AFR).

Meanwhile, industry insiders have reportedly questioned whether the big bank will be able to fuse the businesses' technology systems within its targeted approximate time frame of five years.

Indeed, Goldman Sachs noted much of the expected synergies were relying on moving Suncorp customers to the still incomplete ANZ Plus platform, as my Fool colleague James Mickleboro reported.

And ANZ isn't alone in facing tech difficulties in recent years. Suncorp has also struggled to modernise its technology, reportedly ditching its 'Project Ignite' years after it was launched.

ADAPT principal research analyst Shane Hill reportedly told the AFR:

While the merger might make sense from an assets-under-management perspective in competition against the other banks, it is fraught with operational risk from both a trust and technical standpoint. 

M&A-driven integrations … have a history of being more complex, expensive, and time-consuming than projected.

Both organisations still have lots of legacy tech they'll need to either turn off or integrate in a process that will take years.

One unnamed tech executive told the publication they expect ANZ to still be running Suncorp Bank's tech system in a decade.

Fortunately, with the big bank able to licence the Suncorp Bank brand for up to seven years following the acquisition, ANZ has time on its side to prepare for the amalgamation.  

ANZ share price snapshot

The ANZ share price has been underperforming in 2022. The stock has slipped 18.5% since the start of the year.

Meanwhile, the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) has fallen 10.5% and the S&P/ASX 200 Financials Index (ASX: XFJ) is down 7.8%.

Motley Fool contributor Brooke Cooper has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has positions in and has recommended Goldman Sachs. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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