Financial advisers who engaged in mediation with AMP after being terminated by the wealth giant over the past two years have been left “dissatisfied” and “distressed”, according to the small business ombudsman.
Appearing at a Senate joint committee on Friday, Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Bruce Billson was asked about the office’s role in the mediation.
“From our office’s point of view, we’ve conveyed the sense that they seem to have other priorities and we thought they should make this more of a priority,” Mr Billson said.
“We all know AMP has had a whole range of challenges to address and always respectful of that, but these authorised representatives have been the key to their customer-facing business for a long time and we were encouraging a higher elevation of priority and attention.
“We have met twice with the new Australian CEO in AMP (Scott Hartley) and communicated that very clearly and I think that message has been heard.
“We were suggesting that mediation process still left a number of those authorised representatives quite dissatisfied with where they’d landed and quite distressed about it.”
Deputy Dr Craig Latham confirmed that 116 financial advisers contacted the ombudsman and of that number, 66 were referred to mediation, 24 were resolved, 13 were not resolved, 24 withdrew and two were “partly resolved”.
A class action against AMP was launched last year, with more than 100 advisers estimated to be involved after being terminated by the company as part of a restructuring of its advice business in 2019.
“We’ve been in discussion about what can we do with the remaining cases,” Mr Billson said.
“There’s been some interplay between that mediated remedy and the class action.
“There’s been a range of judgements exercised in valuing the book for the buyer of last resort transactions. We’ve had examples shared with us where a comparatively recent purchase of a book from AMP, where the book quality was spruiked to be of top notch standard, but when it came to buy the book back, there [was] apparently some deficiencies with that very same book.”
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