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What happened to Hisco?

Written By: - Date published: 9:18 am, June 23rd, 2019 - 75 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, Economy, equality, Financial markets, john key, Living Wage, wages, workers' rights - Tags: , ,

This week’s news about ANZ is beginning to resemble a Game of Thrones episode.  But with more blood.

The guy who used to be ANZ’s chief executive and the purchaser of John Key’s batch suddenly found the world around him changing dramatically.  One day he was chief executive on a salary of over $3 million and also with benefits like the supply of limousines and the safe storage of his wine collection and the next day he was outski.

And he had suddenly lost $6.4 million worth of share options.

But wait there’s more.

Late Friday there was this hit piece from Stuff:

The wife of former ANZ New Zealand boss David Hisco bought the couple’s Auckland family home from her husband’s employer for substantially less than its capital valuation in 2017.

Deborah Walsh paid $6.9 million in July of that year for the lavish St Heliers property, less than the $7.55m ANZ paid when it bought the house in early 2011.

The luxurious 700 square metre ocean-view home, reached by a private driveway that runs off the main St Heliers Bay road, includes a heated swimming pool, tennis court and six bedrooms.

Valuations service QV put the property’s 2017 capital value (including an estimated $7.2m land value for the 2454 sqm parcel) at $10.75m.

The revelation is likely to raise more questions about Hisco’s employment package with ANZ as disclosed by chairman Sir John Key.

Maybe the cheap price was part of the salary package?  But it appears not:

On Friday evening ANZ’s spokesman said the bank bought the house when Hisco arrived in New Zealand.

“The housing allowance that David received as part of his expat arrangements — which was disclosed annually — was offset by the market rent David was required to pay ANZ for the house.”

The house was eventually sold by the bank to his wife based on market valuations done at the time, he said.

So there was no sweetheart deal or a long term agreement for sale and purchase.  Whoever was ANZ’s valuer should check their professional indemnity insurance.

And fuck it but this affects ordinary kiwis.  Again from Stuff:

Sam Stubbs is breaking the silence of the KiwiSaver schemes over the ANZ expenses furore.

Stubbs, who has repeatedly called for a New Zealand Royal Commission on banking, has sent a “please explain” letter to ANZ chairman Sir John Key asking for details of the expenses claims of ANZ’s former chief executive David Hisco.

In Europe and the United States, activist investors, including pension funds, would have been seeking more information, Stubbs said.

But in New Zealand the pension fund market was dominated by KiwiSaver, and KiwiSaver was dominated by the big banks.

It will be interesting to see what response Stubbs gets from Key.

Stubbs’ letter to Sir John began: “We have become aware of the expenses incurred recently by the recently departed CEO, David Hisco, reported as an average of over $418,000 per annum, for the last eight years.”

It went on to request “as a shareholder” that Simplicity be provided with the following:

1) Detail of the expenses policy that allowed this spending to occur, and detail on how often this was reviewed by the Board.

2) Any documented policies and procedures describing the internal controls in place to ensure spending was within policy guidelines.

3) A line by line description of, and the amount of, each of Mr Hisco’s expenses paid for by the company, for every year Mr Hisco was CEO of ANZ New Zealand.

4) Any further explanations as to why you consider Mr Hisco’s expenses reasonable in the context of his role and responsibilities.

“We request answers to the above questions as a matter of urgency, and under no circumstances later than the 5th of July, 2019,” the letter concludes.

Key had the Wall Street nickname the smiling assassin.  Just think of his time as leader of National and wonder what happened to Richard Worth, Pansy Wong, Phil Heatley, Colin King, John Hayes, Mike Sabin, Claudette Haiti amongst others.  They all disappeared without a trace after getting into various sorts of trouble.

So this latest bit of bad news for Hisco may be the result of really good journalism or the result of a strategic leak.

We may never know.

I almost feel sorry for Hisco.  I am sure he never saw it coming.

75 comments on “What happened to Hisco? ”

  1. Key was always a slippery, slimey prick.

    What he gets away with is beyond belief.

    • peterlepaysan 1.1

      Very early on he was known as "slippery john". The Labour party pollies decided to stop using the term, to my surprise.

  2. ankerawshark 2

    Nope don't feel sorry for Hisco at all Mickey. You must be a very compassionate person.

    I struggle to understand how another human being can feel such a sense of entitlement.

  3. JustMe 3

    I doubt Sam Stubbs will get a proper or rather direct reply from John Key.

    Looking at Key's cavalier attitude and the cavalier attitude of his parliamentary staff whilst he was prime minister of New Zilland(as he called the country)when it came to OIA requests I doubt Stubbs will get a proper response.

    And if he does it will most likely be a from junior staffer. Just lets hope that junior staff isn't of the emotional type. And at the first instance of a mistake Key will beato the usual "blame everyone else but himself" mantra.

    I was of the opinion that until recently Key and Hisco were bosum buddies but had a major fall out. And Key resorted to what he gets away with time and again and gets anyone he doesn't like removed.

    He(Key) probably told Hisco at morning tea that his job is safe but by lunch-time Hisco was tossed out.

    It's amazing what Key seems to get away with. It's like he deems himself as a Godlike figure and he can say and do and get away with anything and everything.

    I am so hoping Karmic Payback hits Key very soon because he is as slippery as an eel.

    • Wensleydale 3.1

      He'll get the 'John Key Special' – "Actually, I think you'll find most New Zealanders aren't terribly interested in the tedious workings of the finance sector. They'd rather have a beer and a sausage and watch the rugby. And who can blame them? Go the All Blacks!"

      And then we'll all go back to pretending nothing untoward happened.

  4. patricia bremner 4

    Ankerwarshark, Bankers reward themselves for finding ways to gain money at the public's expense.

    Bit by bit they reinforce that entitled belief through share packages and parachute clauses.

    Swimming with sharks, or in this case running with wolves is always dangerous.

    The most memorable cartoon was JK dressed as a lamb, but clearly a wolf.

  5. Blazer 5

    How the hell Hisco could spend $8000 a week ..on expenses for years unchallenged is remarkable.

    Those junior staffers have a lot to answer for.

    • dv 5.1

      My reaction is How the hell Hisco could spend $8000 a week ..on expenses !!!!

    • Pat 5.2

      wheres the 8K p/w figure come from?

    • Graeme 5.3

      Every board chair worth their salt cultivates the ability to terminate their CEO forthwith, and without recourse, should the need ever arise….

      • RedLogix 5.3.1

        And that's the truth. My reading is that for some reason we will never find out, Hisco's face suddenly didn't fit, and the assassin did his thing.

        He's older than Key, it's my speculation he knows something from the 80's.

        • Phil 5.3.1.1

          Hisco graduated from university in '94 (see his LinkedIn page) so it's highly improbable he was pal-ing around Wall Street in the 80's.

          • RedLogix 5.3.1.1.1

            Well my bad. From the pics I assumed he was well into his 60's.

          • Andre 5.3.1.1.2

            Bloomberg says he's 54 and joined ANZ in July 1980. That suggests he finished high school awfully early.

            • Phil 5.3.1.1.2.1

              That would mean he left school at 16? Not 'awfully early' by the standards of 1980 at all.

              I recall some media articles talking about Hisco coming up through the company from the bottom rung. Starting out as a bank teller in 1980 then going back to Uni later, to get a foot in the door of management promotions, some years later is a not uncommon story.

            • Psycho Milt 5.3.1.1.2.2

              54? Seriously, that dude is younger than me?! He must have led one motherfucker of a dissolute lifestyle.

        • Gabby 5.3.1.2

          Or he didn't look the other way the one time the boss really wanted him to.

      • Blazer 5.3.2

        Would love to see a list of those 'worth their salt'!

        I look at all these Chairpersons like Key,and Sir Ralph Norris is another that preside over all sorts of chicanery and excess and waste.

    • Herodotus 5.4

      For a CEO/GM his expenses would have been signed off by either for under a certain limit perhaps the CFO but normally by the board/Chairman/Audit Committee designate.

      In many cases I have been involved in – once an expense has been signed off (e.g. housing allowance) then it is "accepted" that the same claimed $ is signed off monthly, BUT there would be authorisation from the top for the initial claim.

      The more that is released from this story the less that "Makes Sense"

      I am reminded by this "If a man is sufficiently unimaginative to produce evidence in support of a lie, he might just as well speak the truth at once." — Oscar Wilde

    • Naki man 5.5

      It was in his salary package, so he was entitled to.

      These guys don't travel cattle class and rent on a multi million dollar mansion isn't cheap.

      You do get that he is an expat and was shoulder tapped to work/live in another country.

      That might start to explain his very generous salary package.

      If you guys bothered to read the articles you would know all this.

      • Blazer 5.5.1

        Must read the details of his salary package.Where did you find it?

      • Herodotus 5.5.2

        The senior management team (CEO,CFO etc) travel, hotels etc will be paid for by the company direct e.g. Air NZ account , there are very few occasions whereby such costs are picked up by the manager. All coys I have worked for will have a policy regarding category of travel based on position, flight times etc, and should the individual wish to upgrade they would use their air points earned (On coy travel) for the upgrades.

        Relocation allowances will have a time period that they are applicable, after 2-3 years the short term nature of the appointment will be formalised and the employee will be considered a local, but this time duration would have be specified in his employment agreement.

      • Gabby 5.5.3

        He wasn't worth it was he Nastiman.

  6. ianmac 6

    I bet Key will just ignore Stubbs. Sadly.

    • I doubt that Key will be able to get away without a satisfactory answer to Mr Stubbs.

      There is much at stake here and it seems that Stubbs is not about to let it go.

      Key is under a lot of pressure on this, hence he bought up the hory old flag again to divert attention.

      • Rapunzel 6.1.1

        Has anyone yet questioned as to how much the NZ tax payer contributed to the reduced sale price for a house modified under the Hisco's control? How? By calculating the amount that Arawata Assets would have claimed in GST when they bought with no payment required from the then seller if the house was not registered for GST? Yes they should be passing on 15% of the amount of the sale to Hisco's wife but will have paid for the renovations, roofs for one don't come cheap and neither do high spec bathrooms the cost of which would have also been under GST claim by Arawata. Then there's the "loss" component that could be accounted for.

        So how much did the NZ tax payer via these various transactions with IRD contribute to the price paid by Hisco's spouse?

        • Craig H 6.1.1.1

          Normally residential housing is exempt from GST which means not being able to claim GST from expenses, so hopefully nothing was claimed.

          • Rapunzel 6.1.1.1.1

            They are but if they are bought by a registered company they can claim the GST, if they sell it they then pay GST but if it is divided and developed the GST goes on each of those sales but they would have claimed GST on the "improvements" that took place as mentioned in the link.

            This fact as we sold a property to a developer that had been re-zoned – the solicitor was at pains to be sure we had not claimed GST on anything while we had it (we stored machinery so they had to be certain) if so we would have had to then pay the GST portion of the agreed price but have no doubt the developer was going to claim GST which meant a bit of haggling on price as we knew that, to him the sale price was reduced by about 122k.

            • Dukeofurl 6.1.1.1.1.1

              The situation you are talking about the developer and GST only applies for residential subdivisions.

              So your suppositions are incorrect, hes not 'having the price reduced'

              Once the land is subdivided ,or even boundary adjustment, thats when GST kicks in . Not before

              • Rapunzel

                You are wrong we sold a property that was re-zoned the purchaser claimed the GST portion on it as part of his GST business dealings, we as private owners did not pay GST had we operated the property in anyway incl as a rental if that was our business and had income over $80k or had claimed GST on any of the dealings for the property and for some reason had registered for GST we would have had to pass of 15% of the price we got for it.

                The solicitor was at pains to ensure we were not liable for GST on the sale because it was not a straight forward sale of a personal home it had been used for storage but we were aware enough to only operate without claiming GST on any dealings, repairs etc.

                It is not just subdivisions it if for any GST registered business activity.

                This can arise similarly when someone purchses a rural type lifesytle block and whether it previously earned income either from grazing, growing or any for any purpose and was GST registered as a business entity the selling price incl GST and that portion has to go to IRD. If the individual buying is not GST registered to carry on generating an income they operate as a private individual if they are going to carry on as a GST registered business they can claim the GST but when they sell they will have to pay the portion of the sale price of GST (15%) to IRD.

                • Dukeofurl

                  he may have had business dealings as a developer, but as it was a residential house with no strings attached there was no claim on GST when he bought it.

                  New houses pay GST , used houses like other used goods like cars dont pay GST or can claim it.

                  The solicitor could fluff over it all he likes, hes being careful, but there is no GST

                  https://auditnz.govt.nz/publications-resources/tax/land-sales-and-purchases

                  You used for a zero rated purpose, residential . he bought for residential purposes , again zero rated.

                  Subdivision is a business purpose, only then the GST is due.

                  • Rapunzel

                    I repeat yes there was he bought as a development company and not an individual and the development company claimed GST. Had we made claims on the property we would have had to pay that portion on but we had elected to and were not obligated as it earned less than $60k.

                    FYI if a company purchases a vehicle from a private individual it can claim 15% of the purchase price in GST – the private individual selling privately ie not a business vehicle for example does not then have to pay the GST component to IRD.

                    You can check it out – in that instance as with aspects likely in the Hisco improvements and the sale the NZ tax payer comes up short with a claim being made but the only GST received is via invoices for treades and materials and the price at the last sale that ANZ received. Accounting practices cover a lot but not all things and Arawata Assets would have claimed GST in 2011 when they purchased it and paid some on the sale price that was about $3m below valuation and less than the purchase price so a loss that would also be accounted for.

  7. Muttonbird 7

    After this puff piece by team Key/O'Sullivan comes this puff piece by team Key/O'Sullivan.

    I can't/won't read either but the first is a clear attempt to frame Key as the tough force for anti-corruption we know he is not. And the second seems a sickly-sweet sympathy piece which allows Key to set the tone for his own screw up.

    And as for, "one hundred percent own(ing) that problem", what is the penalty for Key?

    A censure from the RBNZ? Big deal!

    The Herald and O’Sullivan appear to have been seconded by brand Key and what a fine job they are doing for him!

    • Naki man 7.1

      Mutton you need to read these articles before you make incorrect assumptions.

      I have read both of them and you are talking through a hole in your arse.

      There was no "sickly-sweet sympathy piece" or Key screw up.

      • Nic the NZer 7.1.1

        Title of second literally says board of directors screwed up. That includes the chair.

        • Naki man 7.1.1.1

          Someone changed the risk model in 2014 without authority from RBNZ.

          The board have been acting on incorrect written advice about the new risk model.

          If there was a screw up it was in 2014. Long before Key was on the board.

          • Blazer 7.1.1.1.1

            'Someone'..yeah right..the invisible man!

            and..'Must read the details of his salary package.Where did you find it?

            well answer it.

          • Nic the NZer 7.1.1.1.2

            If the board doesn't know when the risk model changes or if the present one is inappropriate that is the responsibility of the board. That is why Key says this was his responsibility and he owned it in that article.

    • Nic the NZer 7.2

      I actually think that the ANZ board are in the right here. As an outcome of an *internal* expenses audit it was discovered on of the officers was submitting missleading expense claims. He was told to go despite being the CEO. ANZ don't think there is evidence to indicate this was fraudlent and signed them off however so that is where it ends (violation of internal policy).

      This kind of thing may be happening at other banks, however in this case ANZ is ahead of the reform process which might discover this.

      I don't really know why mickey is putting such negative implications on keys role in this or making out Hisco to be a victim of a power struggle. Yes the sums invoved are obscene.

      • Muttonbird 7.2.1

        I think a lot of connections need to be investigated if only to make the public aware of what the obscene profits the banks strip from ordinary Kiwis is spent on.

        I'd also like explained the remarkable coincidence between the Hiscos buying the house ridiculously cheap and them then buying Key's beach mansion six moths later.

        It's basically dirty money in my view.

        I think ANZ staff and customer and the public want to know more. Particularly the public who can then make decisions who they bank with.

        Unless I’m mistaken, that’s why Mickey is interested.

        • Nic the NZer 7.2.1.1

          I think it should be considered that, a big media expose targeting people who acted correctly is more likely to cause ANZ to surpress the results of their own investigations in future. An external investigation would probably not surpress the outcome but i also understand the present government said no to such an investigation.

        • Phil 7.2.1.2

          I'd also like explained the remarkable coincidence between the Hiscos buying the house ridiculously cheap and them then buying Key's beach mansion six moths later.

          "Wealthy banker buys holiday home from wealthy mate" is hardly the stuff of Woodward and Bernstein.

  8. patricia bremner 8

    Don't ever forget the money put into banks to assist during the crisis of the GFC .

    Followed by the huge bonus payments they then immediately made from that to the top bank personnel.

    It shocked the world and made protest headlines but mainly continued…. and continues

    Entitled indeed!! The true meaning of Ivory Tower.

  9. Ad 9

    If Bruce Jesson were still around we would be able to draw a web-diagram of how the top 50 families in New Zealand, Sydney and Melbourne form a network of directorships that enforce who is in for how long and who is out.

    Since our government seems shy of regulating any industry – let alone banking – this tight web of directorships and enforcement mechanisms can simply wait this lot out until the family reps within National can run the country again.

  10. Sacha 10

    Top ANZ managers were in on Hisco’s perks and house deal
    (though the writer can't count – it's closer to a $4m than 3 discount): https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/opinion-analysis/113712883/how-did-anz-lose-money-on-a-house-in-the-hottest-housing-market-in-memory

    Neither [Antonia] Watson nor Key mentioned the “housing allowance” Hisco enjoyed for years after he’d bought a $1.7 million dollar apartment in the plush suburb of Kohimarama, within easy reach of his Albert St office in downtown Auckland.

    If they didn’t know about it, others certainly did. Craig Mulholland, ANZ NZ’s general counsel at the time of the 2014 purchase was on the title (it was sold in 2016).

    Mulholland is also listed alongside Hisco and Walsh on the title of an Omaha beach house they bought from Key in 2018 for an estimated $3.8m.

  11. cleangreen 11

    Anything connected to John Key is a shonkey deal indeed, as we should know what key was up to during his time as a bankster and then a posterboy for the "panama papers event." and the dark corners it all involved as a 'tax shelter haven'.

  12. Ad 12

    Stubbs is a good man who went to Kelston Boys High School way back in the 1980s. He's westie made good.

    Kerry McDonald's callout of Key to resign is however even more trenchant, since he is a true Wellington elite who has been around since Muldoon. Now old but his word carries a lot of weight in older Wellington institutional circles. Definitely a Lion in Winter, as the saying goes.

    But it would take a few more leaders to actually come out on this for real pressure to build.

    So it's really good to see the Reserve Bank stepping things up harder and harder, as of this morning.

    Last month the ANZ was censured by the Reserve Bank and ordered to put hundreds of millions more aside to ensure it could cover its risks. That means for years it had not been covered to the extent the regulators needed it to be.

    So as of this morning the Reserve Bank is seeking a report with clear assurances about that.

    The Reserve Bank has also announced this morning that it is seeing a report on whether the ANZ is being run to the rules by Directors and its senior staff.

    https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/business/392779/reserve-bank-requests-assurance-reports-from-anz

    This is pretty appropriate since it's now patently obvious that the RBNZ report into banking conduct that they completed last year was too narrow and its results were crap. Really bad catchup football.

    So it does totally amaze me that our own Minister of Finance hasn't caught on to this as a political gift by calling for the resignation of John Key. OR indeed calling for anything.

    At this point it would only take an “I no longer have confidence” statement from Minister Robertson and Key would be gone.

    If only.

    • Muttonbird 12.1

      The Labour and Greens part of the government have done well to not over-reach by getting involved in opposition or private sector problems. To do so would invite a pile on from the usual RW suspects.

      Better to let the pressure build and as you say ensure this review is more thorough than the last.

      Key must have been tipped off that these second reviews were coming which is why he's attempted the clean out. Clearly he would have not moved on Hisco had he not felt Orr breathing down his neck.

    • Phil 12.2

      Last month the ANZ was censured by the Reserve Bank … it's now patently obvious that the RBNZ report into banking conduct that they completed last year was too narrow and its results were crap.

      The ARC across the Tasman focused on bank conduct and culture related to *selling products to customers*. It didn't get anywhere near modelling for capital requirements.

      The NZ-equivalent that people were clamoring for would also have gotten nowhere near ANZ's operational risk capital models.

      • Sacha 12.2.1

        Did the Australian review consider perks?

        • Phil 12.2.1.1

          Depends on how you define a "perk" 🙂

          The ARC (and the review here) looked at sales performance incentives, e.g. a bonus for selling more than X number of products to a customer. And, more importantly, the reviews looked at how those bonuses might pervert the bank or staff member into acting in a way that is not in the best interest of the customer.

          As far as I'm aware, neither review looked at the kind of employment package benefits or house financing that seems to be the issue with Hisco. That's because these benefits wouldn't be linked to ANZ's sales or Hisco's performance in any directly meaningful way.

    • Blazer 12.3

      I will give Stubbs the benefit of the doubt.

      He did work for 2 'favourites' i.e Eric Watson and Mark Hotchin at Handover Finance..but jumped ship before the 'the size and the strength to withstand ANY conditions' proved quite the opposite.(as usual)

  13. Infused 13

    Key may have been appointed to get this guy out cleanly. Who knows.

    Your hate for key is showing though. How you could feel sorry for this guy.

    Keys just doing his job.

    • Muttonbird 13.1

      Key sold Hisco his house you idiot. They are good mates.

      • Wensleydale 13.1.1

        No, no, Mutton. You're just being unnecessarily cruel to that poor Mr Key – an elder statesman of our fine nation and an icon of success and prosperity. There's not a venal bone in his body, and you do yourself a profound disservice by insinuating as much. He once lived in a state house, you know. (It’s perfectly fine to behave like an amoral pirate if you spent your formative years living in a skip and scrounging for crusts.) Rags to riches and all that. Aspiration! Building a brighter future! Shame on you, Mutton. Shame.

      • Infused 13.1.2

        Hear that? That's logic going way over your head

  14. SHG 14

    Reality check – the transgression for which Hisco was fired was breaking the first commandment. Thou shalt not embarrass JK. Thus has it ever been.

    • Pat 14.1

      Lol…except the embarrassment to Key has been caused by (on the face of it) his own inept handling of the issue….new theory needed.

  15. Senior board of the ANZ ,… spot Jonkey and Hisco there playin' along…

    Harry Nilsson – Coconut (1971)

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