AMP 'strenuously' denies allegations

by Rebecca Pike04 May 2018

AMP has “strenuously” denied Rowena Orr's findings that the group should face criminal action.

The group lodged a submission addressing evidence received in the Royal Commission on its fees for no service.

AMP was accused of charging customers fees for a service it was not providing. The group has reaffirmed its apology in relation to this and has refunded 15,712 customers, a total of $4.7 million. It has also made several other changes to its practices.

As well as the fees for no service, the group was also accused of changing reports from independent law firm Clayton Utz  a number of times, before handing them back to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) as part of its own investigation into the matter.

In its latest statement to the Royal Commission, AMP has asserted that the extent of interaction between AMP and Clayton Utz has been overstated.

It also included the following: there is no evidence to suggest that the Board, including the former Chairman and former CEO, acted inappropriately in relation to the preparation of the report; the Board were not aware of the nature and extent of the interaction during the preparation of the report; there is also no evidence that Clayton Utz made any changes to the report that they did not agree with or that they do not stand behind the report.

The statement reads, “In our submissions to the Royal Commission, we openly acknowledged that our advice business’ communications with the regulator on this issue had been misleading. AMP accepts that any misrepresentation, even if inadvertent, to ASIC is unacceptable and must be corrected as soon as it becomes apparent.

“However, the number of separate misrepresentations referred to in the Royal Commission has been overstated. There were seven misrepresentations (in 12 communications). These were not new ‘news’. We had reported them in detail to ASIC in October 2017 and then to the Royal Commission in evidence provided in March 2018.”

In the statement’s final response to the Counsel Assisting’s open findings, AMP said, “AMP takes responsibility for its past failings and has taken steps to ensure that these failings do not recur. However, AMP does not accept all of Counsel Assisting’s open findings.

“AMP strenuously denies the allegation by Counsel Assisting that it is open to find that AMP has committed a criminal offence in providing the Clayton Utz report to ASIC.

“The issues raised in the fee for no service case study concerned matters that are almost entirely the subject of an ongoing ASIC investigation. The investigation commenced in 2015 and has involved compulsory examination of numerous AMP current and former employees and the production of hundreds of thousands of documents to ASIC.

“As AMP understands, ASIC was nearing completion of that investigation at the time the Royal Commission hearings commenced. AMP fully expects ASIC will deal with the serious matters being investigated in an appropriate manner consistent with ASIC’s enforcement priorities and under a proper process with any affected parties having had the opportunity to be heard.”

COMMENTS

  • by Anonymous 4/05/2018 11:12:02 AM

    In other, words we are waiting for an (un)Enforcable Undertaking slap on the wrist from ASIC and every one else should leave us alone. Good try AMP.

  • by Marty McDonald 4/05/2018 11:18:23 AM

    Excatly ^^^^. I'd be careful pursuing that line if I was AMP. Tempting ASIC to go nuclear may not be the best idea at present.

  • by Karma 4/05/2018 11:38:50 AM

    CEO and chair both resigned over this, rest of board likely to follow - they need to acknowledge and accept what's coming not use weasel words.