Founder of Aussie Home Loans John Symond has confirmed that he has held discussions with the Commonwealth Bank regarding a potential buyback of a stake in the major brokerage.
In June 2018, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) announced that it would demerge its wealth management and mortgage broking businesses, which would include the sale of its minority stake in Mortgage Choice and the sale of wholly owned subsidiary Aussie Home loans.
CBA had initially planned to spin off its third-party businesses into an independent wealth and mortgage broking group, separately listed on the ASX.
However, the bank suspended its planned spin-off in March and has completed the sale of two of the wealth businesses involved in the demerger – Colonial First State Global Asset Management and Count Financial.
CBA is also in the process of shutting down financial advisory firm Financial Wisdom – also part of the bank’s initial spin-off plans.
The major bank is yet to confirm how it plans to proceed with the demerger of its broking business, with CBA CEO Matt Comyn recently stating that the bank is yet to set a timeline for the demerger.
However, speaking at Aussie Home Loans’ 2019 Imagine conference in Sydney, the founder and chairman of Aussie Home Loans, John Symond, revealed that he has held talks with the Commonwealth Bank regarding a potential buyback of a stake in the 27-year-old brokerage.
“I’ve spoken to the [Commonwealth Bank] about it. They’ve made it very clear that they’re not yet in a position to work out what they want to do,” he said.
“They said, ultimately, they will exit Aussie. They don’t know whether that will be in six months, one year, or two years, [but] they would undertake to talk to me when the time comes.”
Mr Symond said he hopes to “help steer” the future trajectory of the business in whatever capacity future owners deem appropriate.
“I really want to make sure that Aussie goes into the right hands,” Mr Symond added.
“Do I have an ongoing role as chairman, non-executive or executive chairman? Or maybe, if all the ducks are lined up – right ownership, etc. – [do] I take a chunk of it?,” he said.