Terminated AMP planners have been dealt another blow in their fight with the wealth giant, with the peak body for AMP advisers restricting their access to an online support group for those exiting the business.
Communications to terminated AMP advisers seen by ifa indicate that as of the end of May, planners who have fully exited AMP as a result of the August 2019 changes to the group’s advice business had their access to The Adviser Association’s online community and social networking app Chatter switched off.
TAA chief executive Neil Macdonald said the changes had come about as a result of privacy concerns raised by advisers involved in the online forums who were still in the process of exiting the institution.
“We have removed people who were [previously] members from the Exiting Planners group on Chatter, and the reason we did that was twofold,” Mr Macdonald said.
“We had some complaints from current exiting planners about firms that already exited having access to it from a privacy and confidentiality aspect. We thought that was probably fair so we removed them from one Chatter group – everything else is still there.”
Mr Macdonald said although the body’s constitution indicates only current authorised representatives of AMP may retain full membership, TAA had retained an associate membership option to ensure exited advisers still had access to support from colleagues.
“As a courtesy for the last 10 years we’ve allowed people who were members to continue to access us for queries [and] advice on their deferred payments for BOLR,” he said.
“More recently, three years ago we formalised it so rather than waiting for them to contact us we said we’ll let you be an associate member for the length of time it takes you to clear your deferred payment for BOLR. And we will continue to give you access to the office and some support [around] mental health and wellbeing.”
Mr Macdonald said the association had only received a small number of complaints from former AMP advisers following the decision to remove them from the online community component of TAA membership.
“We have had three complaints from firms who no longer have an AR – it’s not been a big level of complaint, and the ones we’ve spoken to seem to accept the logic,” he said.
However, a former AMP adviser speaking to ifa on condition of anonymity said the decision seemed to indicate the association was “not there for us but to support their own backyard”.
“There was no need to write us off completely,” the adviser said.
“The association has previously said that it’s wonderful how exiting planners are supporting each other and keeping in contact, but this was confirmation of what everyone really thought – they’ve killed off our last lifeline.”
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