AMP makes Anglican Super unhappy by stalling successor fund transfer

AMP Limited has applied the brakes to corporate superannuation fund successor fund transfers claiming it is hamstrung by market volatility but at least one of the fund involved, Anglican Super, strongly disagrees.

After deciding more than 18 months’ ago to part company with AMP and move to Mercer in the wake of the Royal Commission, Anglican Super has found what it thought might be a six-month or 12 month process having blown out to 18 months with AMP signalling further COVID-19 volatility-related delays.

The situation has been confirmed by Anglican Super chairman, James Flavin who has told Money Management and Super Review that the fund has found dealing with AMP Limited on the successor fund transfer issue exasperating.

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“Moving up to Easter I can only cite the biblical quote from Moses – ‘Let my people go’,” he said.

Flavin claims that, without prior notice to him or other members of the Anglican Super board of trustees, AMP had written to members of the fund and employers stating that the successor fund transfer which was scheduled to be completed on 27 March had been “suspended”.

The letter stated: “The trustee has a duty to act in the best interest of members and to promote their financial interests. Since the end of February 2020 financial markets have experienced extreme volatility, in relation to the development and spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus. Given unprecedented market fluctuations, AMP Superannuation Limited (ASL) as trustee of the Anglican National Superannuation Plan (ANS Plan), has made the decision to suspend the scheduled SFT due to concerns in the current stressed market environment”.

Employers also received an e-mail from AMP claiming “There has been a decision by the trustees of Anglicare National Super Plan to suspend the termination until further notice” and stating: “Owing this change, you can resume using the AMP clearing house eSuper for the interim to remit superannuation contributions, and generate new membership in the plan”.

The Anglican Super board responded immediately that “Firstly, we continue to voice our protest to the unilateral decision of AMP to withhold the transition. Secondly, we are embarrassed by the communications that AMP has so shoddily put together to communicate with our employers”.

Flavin said his fund had become increasingly disillusioned in its dealings with AMP on the successor fund transfer and in circumstances where he believed AMP, by delaying the process, was simply making things worse for members many of whom were women working in lower-paid occupations.

Asked to comment on the situation, AMP issued the following statement:

“AMP’s superannuation trustees have the obligation and fiduciary responsibility to ensure the interests of all superannuation members are protected, including members who are transitioning to another superannuation provider.

“Given the unprecedented market volatility and uncertainty caused by the coronavirus, and the potential impacts to members during a fund transfer, the trustees have decide to temporarily postpone the Anglican National Super plan transfer.

“The postponement is line with actions of others in the industry to ensure members are not exposed to the risk of heightened transaction costs, and the costs of being out of market while a transfer is being undertaken.

“AMP has engaged extensively with ANS to explain the rationale for the postponement. We have also explained the situation to the regulator.

“AMP is continuing to closely monitor conditions and is committed to completing the transfer of funds as soon as there is a sustained stabilisation in markets and at a time that is more beneficial to members.”

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AMP has never cared about anyone other than themselves. They prove this time and time again. Saying this is about trustee responsibilities is a clear conflict of interests in which they have put their interests ahead of the instruction, wishes and best interests of their clients. If an adviser did this ASIC would be all over them.

here, here....this is typical of AMP, their culture, processes, and continued positioning of their own interests above anyone else.

10% markets movements in one day, 1% spreads on cash funds
very brave to do transitions in this period..... just saying!

This is in the best interest of members of Anglican Super members till markets settle. James Flavin has become very vocal all of a sudden? Where were his voice during the RC into child sexual abuse where a few of his plan members, a few which he knew personally, were mentioned?

I agree. I suspect a minimum of six months for markets to settle before an SFT could even be contemplated. If I was an ANS member the last thing I would want right now is a freeze period on my funds whilst the SFT was undertaken.
Member can always leave the ANS fund (be careful if you have insurances in the fund though!)

Well that's a convenient assessment. The request to transition (that is, get the hell out of AMP) was made more than a year ago.

Which consultants are overseeing this SFT on behalf of ANS? If they gave notice 12 months ago what have they, Mercers and Flavin been doing?

They've been calling & writing asking AMP about their progress and waiting for AMP to do what they asked to be done - hence this article.

"Calling and writing" is that all! What about regular meetings (weekly, etc) concerning progression of the SFT and related tasks from when they provided notice? If they did provide notice 12 months ago this should have been completed prior to December 2019. Whoever ANS used as the consultant for this, Mercers and Flavin should really be asked about their tardiness in securing a timely SFT. Bit late blaming AMP now after delaying due to market volatility. AMP seem to most sensible party in this SFT.

Even God can't help you escape AMP

AMP's ability to get things done went into terminal decline long before the RC or COVID-19. It goes back to their acquisition of AXA. That acquisition massively increased the complexity of the AMP business. To justify "synergy savings" to shareholders, AMP got rid of many of the staff who actually understood how the different components worked.

Unfortunately, due to underlying product complexity and massive legacy overhang, there were very few real synergies. Consequently AMP has been struggling to run a hugely complicated business, using too few staff with too little knowledge.

Well that's mostly correct, except for the "too few staff" bit. Staff numbers have increased every year for the last five years and now stand at 6,519. So it's "too many staff with no idea what they are doing". Not to worry, AMP will be gone forever very soon - it's now completely irrelevant as a business.

The folk at Mercers must be furious. Fortunately, they should all have some comfort animals to calm them down.

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