The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has scored a victory, with AMP admitting that it failed to ensure AMP financial planners acted in the best interests of their clients and provided appropriate advice.
In doing so, AMP has told ASIC it does not wish to maintain their denials of the contraventions.
The matter is now listed for a final hearing on 19-21 June at which time ASIC will ask the Court to make declarations of contraventions and order AMP to pay an appropriate penalty.
ASIC is also seeking compliance plan orders to ensure AMP does not engage in the conduct again.
Commenting on the development, ASIC deputy chairman, Daniel Crennan QC said ASIC’s case argued that AMP, one of Australia’s largest financial institutions, failed to ensure its financial planners acted in the best interests of their clients as well as other contraventions of the law.
“AMP has now admitted to all of these contraventions and ASIC will ask the Court to make declarations of contravention and order AMP to pay a penalty,” he said.
“AMP has made these admissions of wrongdoing prior to a contested liability hearing to be held in June which would have lasted two weeks. A decision on liability is no longer necessary. Instead, there will be a three-day hearing in June to determine penalty.”
Crennan said this was an important court managed process to determine the penalty appropriate for the admitted wrongdoing.
“We welcome this development and are pleased that because of AMP’s admissions, the matter will be resolved significantly sooner than if the matter was fought on liability,” he said.
“ASIC is committed to improving the conduct in the wealth management industry, both by financial advisers and the companies who employ or authorise them, and that the interests of their clients are put first. ASIC will continue to pursue these cases in court to sanction unlawful conduct and deter others from repeating it.”
In a statement issued relating to the development, AMP said the proceedings related "to historic insurance rewriting conduct between 2013 and 2015 by certain AMP Financial Planning advisers"
"AMP has been co-operating with an ASIC investigation of the matter, which commenced in 2014 shortly after AMP terminated the financial adviser at the centre of the matter and reported him to the regulator," it said. "AMP has continued to enhance its monitoring and supervision processes, including stronger data analytics, to help protect clients against insurance rewriting."