No charges for AMP FP alleged fee-for-no-service conduct

No charges will be brought to AMP Financial Planning arising from the corporate regulator’s investigation into its alleged fees-for-no-service conduct arising from its buyer of last resort (BOLR) policy.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) announced that the investigation, which was the subject of inquiry and evidence during the Financial Services Royal Commission, had been finalised.

It said the decision to finalise the investigation followed consultation with the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP).

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ASIC said it had been conducting investigations into fees-for-no service conduct by entities within the AMP Limited group, including the BOLR policy conduct which resulted in two briefs of evidence being referred to the CDPP in mid-2020. ASIC’s investigations into other allegations of fees for no service conduct within the AMP Limited group are continuing.

“The CDPP has now determined, on the basis of the available evidence and weighing the relevant public interest factors, that no charges should be brought for that conduct,” ASIC said.

“ASIC has conducted a number of investigations into alleged civil contraventions by entities within the AMP Limited group.

“Civil penalty proceedings were commenced in the Federal Court in May 2021 against five companies that are, or were, part of the AMP Limited group for allegedly charging fees to deceased customers.

“ASIC does not intend to make any further comment.”

Responding to the decision, AMP said it welcomed the confirmation that ASIC would not take action in relation to either the processes or reporting of the historic fees-for-no-services conduct.

AMP group general counsel, David Cullen, said: “AMP acknowledges the deficiencies in its historic systems and processes within the Advice business to monitor ongoing service fees in relation to BOLR.

“In 2018, the business completed the implementation of enhanced systems and controls to improve monitoring and reporting and to protect against recurrence. We have apologised to all affected clients and confirm that remediation was also completed in full in 2018.

“With today’s confirmation that no action will be taken, we are pleased to have closure on this matter.”

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Everyone remember this story the next time ASIC gleefully announces they have banned another adviser for not acting in the best interest of a client. ASIC is the bully who fights the small opponent they know they can beat, and runs away scared when the bully with better lawyers stands up to them.

Good on you ASIC, constantly punching down on the little guys and getting your sh!t kicked in by the big end of town.

So what has the Royal Commission actually achieved?! There should be a Royal Commission into the activities of ASIC!

As long as these big institutions can "fix" their criminal misconduct, by using shareholder capital (or members' funds in the case of Industry Funds) to remediate, there will always be issues.

Cancelling institutional licences and holding directors/management directly responsible (with criminal and civil charges) for misconduct, is the only way this will ever stop.

I look forward to the next Royal Commission, where financial advisers can again be blamed for institutional misconduct.

A great outcome for all, the industry, consumers and the general public.

ASX:AMP 11:34am today $1.09

Currently $1.08.

As someone who went through a BT look back program let me say I feel like ASIC just kicked me in the head.
Thanks AMP for the legacy you left on this industry. You got off scott free and when Mum and Dad Australian comes to see me I turn them away due to the new "AMP Consent form" and "AMP Fee Disclosure Statement" straight back to your call centre.

Interested to hear some comments from Dover Advisers.

Theie has not been any Dover advisers for quite a while now.

Sorry I'll dumb that down "Ex-Dover" Advisers. One critiquing ones grammar should check "theie" own spelling.

You don't need to dumb anything down.

What a surprise, the big end of town can do what they like. The little end of town will pay the levy for ASIC's time and work to let them get away with it.

FP just a seedy sales, product flogging industry that keeps reinventing a way to charge people for things they don't need like an annual review. Sooner product is taken out of advice and fees are paid as services are provided the better.

What a load of c**p, ASIC is clearly a toothless tiger. AMP should be stripped of its AFSL and made to close.

The only hope now is the company collapses from within, before it does any more damage.

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