AMP steps up bid to regain lost trust

Original article by Jonathan Shapiro
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 16 : 13-May-19

AMP CEO Francesco De Ferrari has told customers in an open letter that the wealth manager is making significant changes as it seeks to regain their trust. AMP’s reputation took a battering as a result of deficiencies in its operations that were exposed by the Hayne royal commission, with its share price falling from $5.20 to $2.45 during 2018. The letter, which has been reprinted as an advertisement in a number of newspapers, notes that AMP has made fundamental changes to its operations and has bolstered its internal processes.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY

Industry funds to back Murray for AMP chair

Original article by Jonathan Shapiro
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 13 & 18 : 23-Apr-19

It is understood that the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors will conditionally back the appointment of David Murray as AMP chairman at its AGM in May. Proxy advisers have recommended that Murray be appointed. However, there is some controversy about private comments supposedly made by Murray. He is understood to have said that if there is a big vote against his appointment as a result of the controversy regarding the sale of AMP’s life business, the other two directors who were on the board when the decision was made would resign.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL OF SUPERANNUATION INVESTORS INCORPORATED, CGI GLASS LEWIS PTY LTD, INSTITUTIONAL SHAREHOLDER SERVICES INCORPORATED, OWNERSHIP MATTERS PTY LTD

Australians embracing robo-advisers

Original article by Luke Housego
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 20 : 23-Apr-19

A survey of more than 1,000 Australians has found that 30 per cent would be willing to receive financial advice from ‘robo-advisers’. The survey was commissioned by consulting firm Thinque, with company founder Anders Sorman-Nilsson suggesting that consumers have become less willing to trust human financial advisers as a result of the banking royal commission. Around 80 per cent of respondents stated that financial services is the sector in which they are most worried about digital fraud.

CORPORATES
THINQUE, IRESS WEALTH MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS (RSA) PTY LTD, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY

Boutique funds emerge as top performers

Original article by David Rogers
The Australian – Page: 26 : 18-Apr-19

Data from Mercer shows that the median long-only Australian share fund achieved a return of 10.9 per cent in the March 2019 quarter, on the back of a 9.5 per cent gain for the S&P/ASX 300 index. Smallco Broadcap Fund, Collins Opportunistic Value Investing and CBG Australian Equities delivered the best returns for the quarter, while the ECP AM All Cap fund was the top performer in the year to March. BlackRock achieved the best return among long-short funds over both three months and 12 months.

CORPORATES
MERCER INVESTMENTS PTY LTD, SMALLCO BROADCAP FUND, COLLINS OPPORTUNISTIC VALUE INVESTING FUND, CBG AUSTRALIAN EQUITIES FUND, ECP ASSET MANAGEMENT ALL CAP FUND, BLACKROCK INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT (AUSTRALIA) LIMITED

AMP’s reputation hit harder than big banks

Original article by Jessica Gardner
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 16 : 16-Apr-19

The rankings of the four major banks and AMP have fallen sharply in the latest corporate reputation index, which is compiled by the Reputation Institute. AMP has fallen 18 places in the annual index, and now ranks last in the list of 60 companies. Oliver Freedman of the Reputation Institute notes that AMP’s corporate reputation has not improved since the Hayne royal commission exposed misconduct at the financial services group in 2018. He adds that AMP and the banks must work harder to restore their reputations.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, REPUTATION INSTITUTE PTY LTD, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY, WOOLWORTHS GROUP LIMITED – ASX WOW

Big banks miss out as nimble lenders pounce

Original article by James Frost
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 17 : 2-Apr-19

Specialised lenders such as Scottish Pacific say their customer base is increasing due to the stricter lending standards of the major banks. Scottish Pacific CEO Peter Langham notes that many of the firm’s small business customers would traditionally have secured funding against property from a major bank. Prospa’s co-founder Beau Bertoli agrees that small businesses are finding it harder to secure financing from big banks, noting that they are scrutinising loan applications more carefully.

CORPORATES
SCOTTISH PACIFIC GROUP LIMITED – ASX SCO, PROSPA GROUP LIMITED, AUSTRALIA. OFFICE OF THE AUSTRALIAN SMALL BUSINESS AND FAMILY ENTERPRISE OMBUDSMAN, JUDO CAPITAL PTY LTD, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB

S&P cuts AMP rating, more action to come

Original article by James Frost
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 17 : 5-Mar-19

Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s has downgraded AMP’s credit rating from ‘A’ to ‘A-‘ in the wake of the wealth manager’s decision to sell its life insurance arm. S&P has flagged the potential for a further downgrade once the sale is completed, noting that the deal will affect AMP’s creditworthiness. Rival ratings agency Moody’s Investor Services recently downgraded the credit rating of AMP Life after it posted a 2018 operating loss of $176m.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, AMP LIFE LIMITED, STANDARD AND POOR’S FINANCIAL SERVICES LLC, MOODY’S INVESTORS SERVICE INCORPORATED, AMP BANK LIMITED, RESOLUTION LIFE GROUP LIMITED, CREDIT SUISSE (AUSTRALIA) LIMITED

Super changes to cost AMP $30m annually

Original article by Misa Han
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 19 : 19-Feb-19

Embattled wealth manager AMP has advised that the federal government’s superannuation reforms will reduce its operating earnings by about $10m in 2019 and up to $30m in 2020. The reforms will allow the Australian Taxation Office to consolidate super accounts that are inactive or have low balances. AMP estimates that the reforms will affect about 370,000 of its super accounts. The bill has been passed by the Senate with the Greens’ support, although it has yet to be passed by the lower house.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, AUSTRALIAN TAXATION OFFICE, AUSTRALIAN GREENS, AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ

Contractor stuns AMP with identity data theft

Original article by James Frost, Misa Han
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 21 : 8-Feb-19

Former AMP contractor Yi Zheng has pleaded guilty to possessing identity information to commit an indictable offence. Police records reveal that he downloaded 20 identity documents one morning in October when working at AMP’s Kent Street office in Sydney, then sent them to his home email account before deleting them from his desktop. After AMP’s security system revealed that Zheng had downloaded a dark-web browser onto his AMP laptop, the laptop was taken from him and he was escorted from the building. He was later arrested at Sydney Airport when trying to flee to China. Zheng will be sentenced on 21 March.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP

Finance Royal Commission likely to disrupt distribution of financial products

Original article by Roy Morgan
Market Research Update – Page: Online : 8-Feb-19

Financial intermediaries (including mortgage brokers and financial planners) currently account for the distribution of 35% of the total value of the major financial products. A number of the recommendations of the Financial Services Royal Commission relate to mortgage brokers and financial planners and if adopted, are likely to negatively impact their usage, particularly as it relates to borrowers rather than the lenders paying fees. Financial planners are also likely to be impacted by the need for greater fee disclosure, clarification of independence, improved focus on the best interests of the customer and the need to provide service for any fee involved. These are some of the latest findings from Roy Morgan’s Single Source survey in the 12 months to August 2018, which is based on in-depth interviews conducted face-to-face with over 50,000 consumers per annum in their homes, including detailed questioning across all aspects of investing, borrowing, insurance and banking.

CORPORATES
ROY MORGAN LIMITED, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY