S&P gives AMP thumbs down over bad news

Original article by James Frost
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 19 : 28-Aug-19

The credit rating of wealth manager AMP has been downgraded from ‘A-‘ to ‘BBB+’ by S&P Global Ratings. The long-term issuer credit rating of AMP Bank and AMP Life have also been downgraded by one notch apiece. S&P has indicated that the ratings downgrade was primarily due to the recent deal to sell AMP Life to Resolution Life, which will have an impact on AMP’s group credit profile. S&P also said it may review AMP’s credit rating if the deal does not proceed, although this may not result in an upgrade.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, AMP LIFE LIMITED, AMP BANK LIMITED, S&P GLOBAL RATINGS, RESOLUTION LIFE GROUP LIMITED

Investors query AMP turnaround

Original article by James Frost
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 17 & 22 : 9-Aug-19

AMP has announced a loss of $2.3bn for the first half of 2019 and a new strategy to turn around its fortunes. Amongst other things, the wealth manager aims to reduce costs by about $300m a year. AMP has also flagged plans to significantly reduce the number of financial advisers in its network and place more emphasis on so-called roboadvice. AMP will also continue to pursue the sale of its life insurance business to Resolution Life, while it will issue new shares at $1.50 apiece via a $650m capital raising.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, RESOLUTION LIFE GROUP LIMITED, MERLON CAPITAL PARTNERS PTY LTD, ALLAN GRAY AUSTRALIA PTY LTD

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

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

Industry funds to reach $2trn within 10 years

Original article by Joanna Mather
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 3 : 16-Apr-19

KPMG has forecast that Australia’s superannuation industry will boast $5.4trn worth of funds under management by 2029, compared with just $2.7trn at present. The firm’s 2019 Super Insights report also forecasts that industry funds will manage $2trn in 2029, up from $631bn in 2019. Paul Howes of KPMG says union-backed industry funds must ensure that they comply with the ‘sole-purpose test’ as their dominance of the super industry increases.

CORPORATES
KPMG AUSTRALIA PTY LTD, AUSTRALIANSUPER PTY LTD, SUNSUPER PTY LTD, HOST-PLUS, AUSTRALIAN WORKERS’ UNION-FEDERATION OF INDUSTRIAL, MANUFACTURING AND ENGINEERING EMPLOYEES, AUSTRALIAN PRUDENTIAL REGULATION AUTHORITY, AUSTRALIA. DEPT OF THE TREASURY, MLC LIMITED, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, BT FINANCIAL GROUP PTY LTD, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC, BHP GROUP LIMITED – ASX BHP

CBA’s Colonial buy cost shareholders $54b

Original article by Jonathan Shapiro
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 17 : 9-Apr-19

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia paid $11 billion for Colonial in 2000, but fund manager Merlon Capital Partners contends that the purchase wasted over $50 billion in shareholder capital. Merlon argues that the CBA’s purchase of Colonial did not create value for its stockholders, and that it demonstrates the need for shareholders to have a greater say about large acquisitions. Merlon has previously been critical of AMP’s 2018 decision to sell its life insurance business.

CORPORATES
COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, COLONIAL LIMITED, MERLON CAPITAL PARTNERS PTY LTD, AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP

CBA shelves wealth sale on Hayne hit

Original article by Richard Gluyas
The Australian – Page: 21 & 25 : 15-Mar-19

The Commonwealth Bank has advised that the divestment of its wealth and mortgage broking assets has been put on hold to allow it to focus on implementing the Hayne royal commission’s recommendations and its customer remediation program. National Australia Bank also recently indicated that it will postpone its proposed demerger of wealth manager MLC due to the fallout from the royal commission.

CORPORATES
COMMONWEALTH BANK OF AUSTRALIA – ASX CBA, NATIONAL AUSTRALIA BANK LIMITED – ASX NAB, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY, COLONIAL FIRST STATE GROUP LIMITED, COLONIAL FIRST STATE GLOBAL ASSET MANAGEMENT, FINANCIAL WISDOM LIMITED, COUNT FINANCIAL LIMITED, AUSSIE HOME LOANS LIMITED, MLC LIMITED, AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND BANKING GROUP LIMITED – ASX ANZ, IOOF HOLDINGS LIMITED – ASX IFL, MITSUBISHI UFJ TRUST AND BANKING INCORPORATION, WESTPAC BANKING CORPORATION – ASX WBC

AMP and Clayton Utz roll over for ASIC

Original article by James Frost
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 19 : 12-Mar-19

An AMP spokesperson has confirmed that it has withdrawn its claim of legal and professional privilege over documents sought by the Australian Securities & Investments Commission regarding the fee-for-no-service scandal. Clayton Utz had been involved in the claim; the documents in question included notes taken by Clayton Utz in interviews with AMP employees over the scandal. ASIC deputy commissioner Daniel Crennan attacked AMP for trying to delay its investigation, although he said it was pleased that the sought documents had now been released.

CORPORATES
AMP LIMITED – ASX AMP, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, CLAYTON UTZ