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

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

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

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

IAG faces action over sales tactics

Original article by James Fernyhough
The Australian Financial Review – Page: 30 : 12-Apr-19

Law firms Johnson Winter & Slattery and Bannister Law have filed a class action against Insurance Australia Group. The lawsuit will allege that IAG subsidiary Swann Insurance engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct with regard to the sale of add-on car insurance, which IAG has ceased offering. The Australian Securities & Investments Commission questioned the value of add-on insurance in 2017, while such policies also attracted scrutiny by the Hayne royal commission.

CORPORATES
INSURANCE AUSTRALIA GROUP LIMITED – ASX IAG, SWANN INSURANCE (AUSTRALIA) PTY LTD, JOHNSON WINTER AND SLATTERY, BANNISTER LAW, AUSTRALIAN SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS COMMISSION, AUSTRALIA. ROYAL COMMISSION INTO MISCONDUCT IN THE BANKING, SUPERANNUATION AND FINANCIAL SERVICES INDUSTRY

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

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