The Chair of the Board of AMP, Catherine Brenner, has resigned, effective immediately following revelations at the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry in Australia, that the company misled ASIC on the issue of fees being charged without the provision of advice services.
AMP made the announcement after the Commission heard the company may have breached the Corporations Act over a number of misleading statements regarding charging fees for no service and may face criminal charges over claims it influenced the contents on an independent report into the practice.
Brenner said she was ‘deeply disappointed’ with the issues raised at the Commission and their impact on customers, employees, advisers and shareholders.
“As Chair, I am accountable for governance. I have always sought to act in the best interests of the company and have been in discussions with the Board about the most appropriate course of action, including my resignation. The Board has now accepted my resignation as Chairman as a step towards restoring the trust and confidence in AMP,” Brenner said.
Brenner’s resignation follows that of AMP Chief Executive, Craig Meller, who was due to stand down at the end of the year but stepped out of the role last week after the fee for no service claims were first aired at the Royal Commission (see: AMP Chief Executive Resigns Immediately).
At the time, former IAG Managing Director and Chief Executive, Mike Wilkins was named as acting AMP Chief Executive. Following the resignation of Brenner, Wilkins has been appointed as Executive Chair for an interim period while a new Chair and Chief Executive are selected.
The AMP Board also announced the immediate departure of Group General Counsel and Company Secretary, Brian Salter, and stated it was “…unaware of and disappointed about the number of drafts and the extent of the Group General Counsel’s interaction with Clayton Utz during the preparation of the [Fees for no service] report”.
The Board added that it commissioned and received the report but “…it was not a matter for the Board’s approval” and recent legal advice has satisfied the Board that Brenner and Meller did not act inappropriately in relation to the preparation of the Clayton Utz report.