ANZ boss Mike Smith is just oh so predictable. Like so many new CEOs before him, the English import has presided over his first profit result by painting a gloomy picture that will set him up for future glory.

The size of rotten loans is one of those flexible figures at banks and Smith has suddenly got all conservative, lifting the bad debt provision by 39% to $567 million. When combined with fears of a big Asian acquisition this contributed to ANZ’s share price slumping $1.15 to $29.96 yesterday.