The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) is claiming a victory following a decision by law firm Clayton Utz and the AMP Limited to provide its internal file notes on the firm’s interviews with current and former employees and officers of AMP interviewed in connection with its report to AMP on fee for no service.
ASIC had commenced Federal Court proceedings against AMP and the law firm in December seeking an order compelling Clayton Utz to produce the interview notes which had been withheld from ASIC on the basis of claimed legal professional privilege.
The interview notes were responsive to a compulsory notice to produce issued by ASIC under section 33 of the ASIC Act in October, last year, relating to ASIC’s ongoing investigation into AMP Group for fees for no service conduct and related false or misleading statements to ASIC.
ASIC said Clayton Utz had produced the documents so by ASIC with no claim of legal professional privilege by AMP and that AMP had agreed to pay the regulators costs.
Commenting on the outcome, ASIC deputy chairman, Daniel Crennan QC said the regulator was determined to take enforcement action against the major banks and financial service providers and to use all legal powers necessary to investigate the significant issue of fees for no service.
“Entities should take seriously their obligations under statutory notices issued by ASIC, including producing documents in accordance with the specified timeframe and not preventing the disclosure of documents to ASIC by making inappropriate LPP claims. These interruptions delay and frustrate ASIC’s proper investigation,” he said.