A Labor senator and member of the parliamentary joint committee for corporations and financial services says she “won’t give up” on pressuring AMP to negotiate “just terms of settlement” with the hundreds of planners terminated by the wealth giant in 2019.
A spokesman for Senator Deborah O’Neill – who was behind last year’s push for an ASIC investigation into AMP’s decision to reduce BOLR values for around 250 terminated planners – told ifa she was still actively collecting information on the experiences of advisers negotiating their way out of the group, with a view to pressuring AMP to provide better outcomes.
“Senator O’Neill is continuing her fight for justice for the AMP advisers by continuing to meet with AMP advisers, the Australian Small and Family Business Ombudsman Bruce Billson, and the new CEO of AMP Scott Hartley, to negotiate arrangements that leave AMP advisers better off,” the spokesman said.
“She acknowledges the serious changes needed in the financial services industry following the Hayne royal commission, but AMP cannibalising its adviser network and driving them into desperation and poverty is not a change for the better, merely a repetition of the bad old task.”
The comments come following AMP sending final notices of termination in April to up to 40 advisers who had still not negotiated their way out of the group almost two years after being terminated.
Progress among advisers to reach a satisfactory settlement outcome has been slow, with AMP’s Adviser Association saying around 100 of the 250 terminated advisers were still negotiating with the wealth giant in January this year.
“We’ve said all along that the only solution we can see that gets the majority of people a reasonable outcome is the class action, but there will be a number of people that have got particular circumstances that will need to be dealt with on a one on one basis, which AMP keeps telling us they are,” Adviser Association head Neil Macdonald told ifa in April.
Senator O’Neill’s spokesman said she had not stopped “fighting for justice” for the affected advisers, despite ASIC rejecting calls for an investigation into the BOLR issue and Liberal members of the joint committee having voted down her move for a parliamentary inquiry into AMP’s treatment of advisers.
“Even two years on, the effects of the BOLR changes are still impacting the lives of these advisers,” Ms O’Neill said.
“Restrictive restraint of trade arrangements, the psychological warfare of the buyout process and the drastic changes in the valuations of the businesses have left these advisers alone and exhausted. However, I won’t give up on them.
“AMP needs to come to the table for all advisers, negotiate just terms of separation, and allow these advisers to move on with their lives, with all the dignity they deserve.”
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