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Australia: land of false promise?

Australia hasn’t lived up to its promise for ANZ’s ex-group managing director, Steve Targett. How common is it for immigrant bankers to come unstuck?

In the case of Targett, the stakes are high and getting higher. Last month, he upped his damages claim from AU$2.1m to a hefty AU$57m, according to a report in the Australian Financial Review.

Targett, a former banker with Lloyds TSB, claims he left his well-paid job in London after some high-profile members of ANZ’s board suggested he’d be a frontrunner for the CEO’s position. The job eventually went to ex-HSBC operative Mike Smith.

As the case is still to play itself out in the courts, a spokesman for ANZ was reticent when it came to discussing it. However, he said: “ANZ doesn’t believe [Targett’s] claims have any substance,” and the bank “will be defending them vigorously”.

Mary Grant, principal consultant in recruitment firm Hudson’s banking and finance division, says the onus is on bankers to do plenty of research before shifting to Australia.

“Ask questions about the size and complexity of the deals you’ll work on, and what the role involves. Also ask the person hiring you whether they had overseas experience. They’ll know what you’ll go through as an expat.”

And if you do find yourself in a role that underwhelms? Most headhunters caution against lodging an official complaint. “A lot of people have been in similar situations,” says Caan Krsztew-Ivanow, a senior search consultant at Melbourne-based financial services specialist Graeme V. Jones & Associates. “The best scenario often involves moving on and starting a new career.”

Comments (2)

  1. Yes this is a village economy in comparison to other countries. Australia has already lost its spot to HK, Singapore who came very much later into the global capital markets. The very inward looking approach Australia takes is the greatest drawback for its success. Immigrant workers have to prove a lot in Australia where as actually Australia needs to prove a lot more to the rest of the world. Otherwise it will have a capital markets just for Australia no different to Indonesia or Thailand.

    another immigrant Reply
  2. Your article makes it sound that Mr Targett is Enlgish and had worked in London most of his career. As i understand it, he went to London with NAB and then jumped ship to Lloyds TSB. Prior to NAB, he was employed by ANZ for a number of years (both in Australia and Japan)- perhaps you have used the wrong person to try and make your point?

    Any “prospective employee” who believes 100% what they have been told/promised to them during an interview process is, quite frankly, naive. Employers conduct reference checks on prospective employees as a matter of course, it would seem only logical that the prospective employee does the same. Everyone should do their “homework” prior to signing on the dotted line. Or to put it more simply “caveat emptor”.

    another immigrant 2 Reply

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