AML scandal-hit Commonwealth Bank of Australia appoints new CEO
29 Jan 2018

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has appointed its retail banking boss Matt Comyn as CEO, a move it hopes will boost its leadership as it responds to charges of poor anti-money laundering (AML) and counter terrorism financing controls.

In selecting a new chief executive, the CBA board’s sought a candidate who “will maintain the momentum in the business, and address the regulatory and reputational challenges and recognise evolving community expectations,” amongst other qualities, a CBA statement said.

The Australian lender faces charges brought forward by regulator Austrac that it failed to detect and prevent the use of its intelligent deposit machines for money laundering and terrorism financing concerns.

“The last six months in particular have been very challenging and I am committed to working with the Board, the executive team and our wonderful people to rebuild trust in the Commonwealth Bank together,” Comyn said.

“It is important that we maintain the momentum underway, upgrading and strengthening our governance, accountability and risk management, while delivering strong financial performance … I [also] look forward to ensuring we remain at the forefront of technology, innovation and a great customer experience.”

However, there is some skepticism in naming an internal candidate to head the bank at the present moment, said Reuters news agency. It quoted Omkar Joshi, a portfolio manager at Regal Funds Management, saying:

“All indications were it would be an external appointment, given the AUSTRAC issues are ongoing … all in
ternal candidates are effectively tarnished by the same brush.”

“It is a good appointment, don’t get me wrong. He has a good track record and in normal circumstances, I think he would have been given that job anyway.”

Regal Funds owns CBA shares, Reuters explained.

Retiring CBA CEO Ian Narev said: “Matt’s values run deep. He is a person of integrity and openness, and has a passion for CBA’s vision. I know he will enhance the best aspects of CBA, while making the changes needed to address the challenges which lie ahead.”

Read More:

Australia’s Commonwealth Bank faces second regulatory probe

Australia: Bank enforces deposit limits following money laundering scandal

AML going south? Money laundering and “non-financial businesses and professions” in Australia

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