Tuesday, September 21, 2021

ASIC terminates criminal case against AMP

Financial services group AMP will not face criminal prosecution until three years after the banking royal commission found it had charged thousands of dead customers.

The barrister of the investigation recommended Australia’s largest wealth manager face criminal charges for lying to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission about the conduct.

But the corporate regulator on Friday said it has concluded its investigation into the fee-for-no-service case.

ASIC went to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions in mid-2020, offering two brief descriptions of evidence, with a view to levying criminal charges.

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

Yug Times Photos
The logo of AMP Limited, Australia’s largest retail property manager, adorns their head office in central Sydney, Australia on May 5, 2017. (Reuters/David Grey/File photo)

AMP had charged thousands of retirement clients for life insurance, knowing that there was no longer a life to insure.

The allegations surfaced during the Financial Services Royal Commission’s evidence in 2018 and were a key finding in its report.

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Banking Royal Commissioner Kenneth Hayne QC wanted ASIC to take criminal action on the conduct.

Hayne said in his interim report that AMP had taken an attitude towards the regulator that he did not find clear and honest, but he left the matter in the hands of ASIC.

The AMP said it is happy that the matter is now closed.

“We have apologized to all affected customers and confirmed that the treatment was also fully completed in 2018,” it said in a statement.

AMP noted that monitoring and reporting were improved at the time to prevent such a thing from happening again.

The fee-for-no-service scandal claimed the jobs of AMP’s then-CEO and chairman, caused a drop in the share price and prompted shareholder class actions.

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ASIC terminates criminal case against AMP
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