Business News

Royal commission claims AMP chair

AMP has announced Catherine Brenner has resigned as its chair and will step down from the board effective immediately.

Board member and member of its audit and risk committees Mike Wilkins has been appointed as executive chair in her place.

The move comes in light of revelations made in the banking royal commission about AMP’s fee for no service practices, as well the internal tampering of an independent report prepared by legal firm Clayton Utz.

Brenner said of her resignation: “As chairman, I am accountable for governance. I have always sought to act in the best interests of the company and have been in discussions with the Board about the most appropriate course of action, including my resignation.”

In addition AMP made it known group general counsel and company secretary Brian Salter would also be leaving the organisation. The company pointed out the board has exercised its discretion to have Salter forfeit his outstanding deferred remuneration.

The board has received advice from Philip Crutchfield QC, Tamieka Spencer Bruce of Counsel, and Tim Bednall of King and Wood Mallesons in relation to the issues raised in the royal commission.

“Having considered and assessed the matters, the board is satisfied that the former Chairman Catherine Brenner, former chief executive officer Craig Meller and the other directors did not act inappropriately in relation to the preparation of the Clayton Utz report,” AMP said in a statement.

“The board, including the former chairman, were unaware of and disappointed about the number of drafts and the extent of the group general counsel’s interaction with Clayton Utz during the preparation of the report.

“The board commissioned and received the report. It was not a matter for the board’s approval.”

Commenting on the findings revealed in the royal commission Wilkins said: “AMP respects the royal commission process. I can assure you that the evidence and submissions presented by counsel assisting are being treated extremely seriously by the board.

“Appropriate steps are being taken to address the issues raised, and remediating our customers is being given utmost priority.”

The board also announced additional actions including reducing board directors’ remuneration by 25 per cent for the remainder of the 2018 calendar year.

The board is also conducting an external employment review to determine the remuneration and employment consequences for individuals responsible for fees for no service, which AMP expect to conclude shortly.

Last week, AMP chief executive Craig Meller stepped down from his role with immediate effect following revelations at the banking royal commission of misconduct by the financial services giant.

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