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MPs pass law to keep Suncorp HQ in Queensland after bank split

Queensland has passed legislation to keep Suncorp’s head office in the state after the expected sale of its banking business to ANZ, with final clearance from federal Treasurer Jim Chalmers still awaited. 

Suncorp announced the $4.9 billion sale of the bank in July 2022, subject to conditions including competition clearance, Queensland legislative amendments and approval by Dr Chalmers. 

Previously, Queensland required the company’s banking business to be based in the state, reflecting laws introduced in 1996 after the merger of Suncorp, Queensland Industry Development Corporation and Metway Bank. 

Suncorp says the amendment passed on Friday shifts the headquarter requirement from the bank to the post-sale dedicated insurance business. 

“It is one part of a package of measures put in place to reinforce the ongoing commitment of Suncorp Group to Queensland to deliver meaningful benefits directed towards jobs and investment and supporting the continued growth of the state, as envisaged at the time the sale was announced,” the company said. 

The law includes that the CEO’s principal operational office is in Queensland, the chairperson has an office in the state, at least one member of the board is a resident and “each group corporate services activity is wholly or partly performed in Queensland”. 

“While the existing act secured the headquarters of the banking division, it did not clearly apply those requirements to the other parts of the business which, frankly speaking, are the more significant and more valuable components of the business,” Queensland Deputy Premier and Treasurer Cameron Dick told parliament. 

“Accordingly, the bill will secure the ongoing benefit to our state of having Suncorp, a globally recognised insurer, headquartered here in Queensland.” 

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission initially blocked the sale, but that decision was overturned in February on appeal by Suncorp and ANZ. 

The Queensland legislation will take effect after the federal Treasurer’s approval, or will not commence if the deal is not cleared. 

Suncorp and ANZ expected the transaction to be completed “around the middle” of this year should all approvals be received.