Plaintiff law firm, Slater and Gordon has taken a major swipe at AMP Limited chief executive, Francesco De Ferrari blaming AMP management for the company’s legal woes rather than its financial planning network.
The swipe cam against the background of De Ferrari using this week’s hearing of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics to lament Australia’s class action system in circumstances where he admitted that AMP was currently facing two class actions.
Slater and Gordon head of class actions, Ben Hardwick questioned De Ferrari’s attitude, claiming the AMP chief executive’s “chutzpah” was hard to fathom.
"De Ferrari runs an organisation that somehow managed to claim a gold medal for disgrace at the banking Royal Commission in a highly competitive field," Hardwick said. “It's difficult to imagine the arrogance necessary to show up to Parliament, as the boss of AMP, and start whinging about how inconvenient it is for ordinary Australians to want their money back.”
"Those of us who run class actions against financial sector giants must be doing something right to trigger this kind of clumsy attack from the boss of AMP.
"For anyone wondering what the Liberal Party's parliamentary class action inquiry is all about look no further than De Ferrari. The business lobby wants the likes of AMP to go back to acting with impunity, without worrying about any pesky customers taking them to court,” Hardwick claimed.
"CEOs like Francesco De Ferrari are telling politicians the solution to getting hit by class actions is to make it harder for Australians to sue them. I would argue the solution is to stop breaking the law.”
"AMP charged dead superannuation customers for life insurance, knowing there was no longer any life to insure. Then they were accused of lying to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. And this was just the tip of the iceberg.
"However, De Ferrari's whining has actually done a very useful thing: he has revealed the true agenda of corporate Australia. He wants litigation funding for class actions cut off so AMP can go back to doing whatever they want without fear of getting sued.
"Litigation funders help ordinary Australians take class actions against the likes of AMP. For De Ferrari to take aim at their motives and practices with a straight face is astounding.”
Hardwick noted that De Ferrari's claim that class actions were making life hard for financial advisors was simply misleading.
“We haven’t actually sued any AMP financial planners in our class actions and I don't believe anyone else has either," he said. “All AMP's problems stemmed from head office, which De Ferrari now heads up, not the planners out in the dealer networks. It is typical of AMP management types to throw someone else under the bus to cover their own ineptitude."