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Former AMP chairman laments culture

In his final speech at AMP’s annual general meeting last week, former chairman Simon McKeon said the financial services industry “needs to do better” when it comes to culture.

Speaking at the group’s AGM in Melbourne, Mr McKeon said industry scandals had prompted AMP to make culture changes, which included placing a responsibility on the company’s board and leadership teams to demonstrate role model behaviour.

Mr McKeon said it is also important for leaders to be open to and respond to bad news, which may sometimes come from whistleblowers.

“It’s the responsibility of leaders to respond constructively to challenging news. It’s our duty to listen to, investigate and fix,” he said.

“We want employees at any level to feel safe and empowered to identify and raise issues that are unethical, unacceptable or even questionable. Our CEO Craig Meller regularly emphasises the importance of speaking up and taking action.”

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Despite these efforts, Mr Meller said, mistakes can still be made.

“Yet, for all the action we are taking to strengthen and improve culture and for all our best intentions, we won’t always get things right. When we make a mistake, we acknowledge it, apologise and work hard to fix it as quickly as possible,” he said.

“No organisation is perfect. We don’t hold ourselves up as an example, nor do we have all the answers because there are things we need to change and things we need to do better.

“We know, however, that culture is an important conversation to have if we want our industry to continue to thrive and prosper. This will only happen if we have the community’s trust and, therefore, a social licence to operate.”

AMP announced in April 2016 that Mr McKeon would step down from the chairman’s role after the group’s AGM. Board member John Palmer is now interim chairman until a permanent appointment is made.

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[Related: Regulators to take ‘deeper dive’ into bank culture]

Former AMP chairman laments culture
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