ASIC seizes documents in fees-for-no-service investigation

ASIC seizes documents in fees-for-no-service investigation

The corporate regulator has obtained documents from lawyers representing AMP in connection with its report to the wealth giant around fees for no service.

The AMP staffers were interview by Clayton Utz in connection with its report to AMP in October 2017, which was considered in the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry in April 2018, ASIC said in a statement.

The interview notes had been withheld from ASIC by AMP, which claimed that they were subject to legal professional privilege (LPP). ASIC then disputed the claim of LPP.

Further, the notes were in response to a compulsory notice to produce issued by ASIC under section 33 of the ASIC Act in October 2018 and relate to ASIC’s ongoing investigation into AMP Group for fees-for-no-service conduct and related false or misleading statements to ASIC.

On 7 March 2019, the day AMP and Clayton Utz were due to file their evidence in the proceedings, Clayton Utz produced the documents sought by ASIC with no claim of LPP by AMP.

AMP agreed to pay ASIC’s costs and the proceedings were dismissed by consent on 8 March 2019.

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“ASIC is determined to take enforcement action against the major banks and financial service providers and to use all legal powers necessary to investigate the significant issue of fees for no service,” said ASIC deputy chair Daniel Crennan.

“Entities should take seriously their obligations under statutory notices issued by ASIC, including producing documents in accordance with the specified timeframe and not preventing the disclosure of documents to ASIC by making inappropriate LPP claims. These interruptions delay and frustrate ASIC’s proper investigation.

“ASIC is pleased that the documents have now been produced but is disappointed that the matter was not resolved sooner.”

ASIC commenced Federal Court proceedings against AMP and Clayton Utz in December 2018, seeking an order compelling Clayton Utz to produce the interview notes.

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