AMP’s credit ratings still at risk after stalled life sale

Original article by Jonathan Shapiro, James Frost
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 13 & 16 : 17-Jul-19

S&P Global has advised that AMP’s credit rating will remain on negative watch after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand imposed conditions on the sale of its life insurance business. Nicholas Yap of Nomura believes that AMP is likely to face a credit ratings downgrade at some point, citing factors such as a reduction in the value of its life business and a class action lawsuit over excessive superannuation fees. AMP shares fell 1.6 per cent to $1.78 on 16 July.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, AMP LIFE LIMITED, S&P GLOBAL RATINGS, NOMURA AUSTRALIA LIMITED, RESOLUTION LIFE GROUP LIMITED, RESERVE BANK OF NEW ZEALAND, MOODY’S INVESTORS SERVICE INCORPORATED, MACQUARIE GROUP LIMITED – ASX MQG, CITIGROUP PTY LTD, MORGAN STANLEY AUSTRALIA LIMITED

AMP rattled as $3.3bn sale breaks down

Original article by Cliona O’Dowd, Joyce Moullakis
The Australian – Page: 17 & 20 : 16-Jul-19

Shares in AMP closed 15.81 per cent lower at $1.81 on 15 July after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand thwarted the proposed sale of its life insurance division. The central bank said it would not support the sale of AMP Life NZ to the UK-based Resolution Life unless the assets underpinning New Zealanders’ policies are ‘ring-fenced’. AMP still hopes to secure a deal, but analysts say any sale now is likely to be at a much lower price than the $3.3bn that Resolution Life had agreed to pay. AMP has also advised that investors will not receive an interim dividend, citing uncertainty regarding the sale of AMP Life.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, AMP LIFE LIMITED, RESOLUTION LIFE GROUP LIMITED, RESERVE BANK OF NEW ZEALAND, ALLAN GRAY AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, MORNINGSTAR PTY LTD, REGAL FUNDS MANAGEMENT PTY LTD, SHAW AND PARTNERS LIMITED, MACQUARIE GROUP LIMITED – ASX MQG

Fels laments lack of bank competition

Original article by Adam Creighton
The Australian – Page: 2 : 11-Jul-19

Former Australian Competition & Consumer Commission chairman Allan Fels has expressed concern about the four major banks’ domination of the nation’s home loans market. He says competition in Australia’s banking sector has declined substantially since the global financial crisis. He also notes that there is now very little difference between the "big four" banks and that it is relatively easy for them to co-ordinate their actions without breaching cartel laws.

CORPORATES
AUSTRALIAN COMPETITION AND CONSUMER COMMISSION, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, ST GEORGE BANK LIMITED, BANKWEST, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY

Lenders reluctant to pass on cut in full

Original article by Joyce Moullakis
The Australian – Page: 19 : 4-Jul-19

Macquarie Bank, Suncorp, ME Bank and ING will reduce their interest rates on a range of mortgage products by less than the latest 25 basis point reduction in the cash rate. They have joined Westpac, National Australia Bank and the Commonwealth Bank in not passing on the Reserve Bank’s interest rate cut in full. However, a number of smaller lenders have reduced their mortgage rates by the full amount, including Athena, Resimac and Newcastle Permanent.

CORPORATES
MACQUARIE BANK LIMITED – ASX MBL, SUNCORP BANK, SUNCORP GROUP LIMITED – ASX SUN, ME BANK, ING BANK (AUSTRALIA) LIMITED, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, ATHENA HOME LOANS PTY LTD, RESIMAC GROUP LIMITED – ASX RMC, NEWCASTLE PERMANENT BUILDING SOCIETY LIMITED, STATE CUSTODIANS PTY LTD, RACQ BANK, HOMESTAR FINANCE PTY LTD, REDUCE HOME LOANS, RATECITY PTY LTD, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA, MORGAN STANLEY AUSTRALIA LIMITED, SHAW AND PARTNERS LIMITED

AMP hit with new class action

Original article by Samantha Bailey
The Australian – Page: 20 : 27-Jun-19

AMP says it will "vigorously" defend a class action launched by law firm Slater & Gordon, which alleges that superannuation fund members were charged excessive fees. Slater & Gordon is the second law firm to file a class action on behalf of AMP’s super fund members, with Maurice Blackburn having done so in May. Maurice Blackburn is also pursuing a separate class action against AMP over its compliance with disclosure obligations.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, SLATER AND GORDON LIMITED – ASX SGH, MAURICE BLACKBURN PTY LTD, THERIUM LITIGATION FINANCE

Stockmarket boosted as Prospa prospers on debut

Original article by Joyce Moullakis
The Australian – Page: 21 : 12-Jun-19

Prospa Group’s joint CEO Beau Bertoli is upbeat about the outlook for the small business lending market, despite the slowing Australian economy. The fintech specialises in loans of between $5,000 and $300,000, and Bertoli say there is a lot of unmet demand for small business loans. Prospa’s shares peaked at $4.55 on the stock’s first day of trading on 11 June, having been issued at $3.78. Prospa has forecast a pro-forma net loss of $1.5m for fiscal 2019.

CORPORATES
PROSPA GROUP LIMITED – ASX PGL, REFINITIV, QUALITAS REAL ESTATE INCOME FUND – ASX QRI, LIFE360 INCORPORATED – ASX 360

Boards feel the pinch on pay as Hayne fallout hits home

Original article by Eli Greenblat
The Australian – Page: Online : 4-Jun-19

A new survey shows that company secretaries in the financial services sector have received an average pay rise of 24 per cent in 2018-19. In contrast, the remuneration of directors and chairpersons in the industry have fallen by 11 per cent in the wake of the Hayne royal commission. Likewise, the remuneration of CEOs in the sector fell by 21 per cent and managing directors’ pay was cut by 10 per cent. The survey was undertaken by the Governance Institute, in partnership with McGuirk Consultants and Board Direction.

CORPORATES
GOVERNANCE INSTITUTE OF AUSTRALIA LIMITED, McGUIRK MANAGEMENT CONSULTANTS PTY LTD, BOARD DIRECTION, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY

No-win, no-fee prevails in AMP class action face-off

Original article by Michael Pelly
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 8 : 24-May-19

Five law firms filed class actions against AMP in the wake of ‘the fee for no service’ scandal that was unearthed by the banking royal commission. However, NSW Supreme Court Justice Julie Ward ruled on 23 May that only one action, which is a combined effort between Slater & Gordon and Maurice Blackburn, can proceed. Ward said Maurice Blackburn will have to put up $5 million as security for AMP’s expenses, while AMP advised in a statement that it intend to vigorously defend the class action.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, SUPREME COURT OF NEW SOUTH WALES, SLATER AND GORDON LIMITED – ASX SGH, MAURICE BLACKBURN PTY LTD, QUINN EMANUEL URQUHART AND SULLIVAN LP, SHINE LAWYERS, PHI FINNEY McDONALD PTY LTD

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