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AMP directors resign as shareholders ‘demand accountability’

AMP directors resign as shareholders ‘demand accountability’

Three directors on AMP’s board, including the chairman of its investment management business, will step down from the board as the fallout from the financial services royal commission continues.

AMP Limited has announced that non-executive directors Vanessa Wallace and Holly Kramer will step down from the board ahead of the annual general meeting on Thursday (10 May). 

Ms Kramer has been a member of the board since October 2015, while Ms Wallace joined the board in March 2016. 

Ms Wallace has also resigned from her role as chairman of investment manager AMP Capital; however, the effective date is yet to be announced due to a “brief period of transition to allow the effective transfer of the chairmanship”.

Further, AMP’s longest serving director, Patty Akopiantz, who has been on the board since 2011, has also offered to step down from the board. 

AMP has said that Ms Akopiantz will continue to serve until the end of 2018 “recognising the need for a measured process of board renewal”.

Commenting on the departures, AMP’s interim executive chairman, Mike Williams, claimed that shareholders were demanding change, amid revelations of misconduct by AMP staff, identified by the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry. 

“Our shareholders are demanding board accountability and need to know that meaningful change is underway,” Mr Williams said. 

Mr Williams thanked the outgoing directors for their service to AMP.

“I’d like to thank Patty, Vanessa and Holly for their service to AMP,” the interim CEO added. 

“They are extremely capable directors who have all made valuable contributions and brought great diversity of thought and experience to the board.  

“They have listened to and acted on the feedback from our investors.”

Noting that the three outgoing board members are all female (leaving an all-male board), AMP has also outlined its commitment to correct possible gender discrepancies brought about by the departure of three female directors.

In a statement released to Mortgage Business’ sister publication, NestEgg, AMP said: “We are absolutely committed to gender diversity and diversity more generally on the board of AMP. This will be a key consideration as we renew the board.”

The announcement is the latest in an ongoing exodus from the wealth management group, following on from the recent announcement that AMP chairman Catherine Brenner had stepped down from the role of chairman and the hastened resignation of CEO Craig Meller

David Murray AO will take up the position as chairman after the upcoming AGM, on or before 1 July 2018. 

Current executive chairman Mike Wilkins will return to the position of acting chief executive officer on that date.

Reputation now in “tatters” 

The news follows on from a range of “shocking revelations” that were revealed during the royal commission.

The financial services company has reiterated its “unreserved apology” for failings in its advice service, but said that it “strenuously denies” the allegation made by the royal commission that it has committed a criminal offence.

A report by Morningstar analysts has outlined a litany of obstacles that AMP will be facing thanks to the “shocking revelations”.

“AMP’s poor corporate governance and risk management has now materially impacted AMP’s reputation as a trusted financial adviser,” the report said.

“We believe its strategy to focus investments and grow its wealth management business is now in tatters as a result of the royal commission.”

Four separate shareholder class actions are also now being lined up against the group, on the grounds that the company breached its obligations to customers and engaged in “misleading and deceptive representations to the market”.

[Related: AMP denies it committed a criminal offence]

AMP directors resign as shareholders ‘demand accountability’
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