Catherine Brenner has resigned as chair of AMP and stepped down from the board. A senior executive is also departing and the firm has cleared itself of any wrongdoing over the preparation of a Clayton Utz report.
In the wake of the Royal Commission's inquiry into financial advice, Brenner has left the organisation and acting chief executive Mike Wilkins will serve in her stead until a permanent replacement is appointed.
"I am honoured to have been chairman of AMP. I am deeply disappointed by the issues at hand and am particularly concerned for the impact they have had on our customers, employees, advisers and shareholders," Brenner said.
"As chair, I am accountable for governance. I have always sought to act in the best interests of the company and have been in discussions with the board about the most appropriate course of action, including my resignation."
Brenner said her resignation will act as a step towards restoring trust and confidence in AMP.
Commenting, Wilkins said: "The board acknowledges Catherine's leadership and thanks her for her professionalism, integrity and dedication to the company over the past eight years. We will now begin a process of board renewal, including fast-tracking selection of a chairman, and a new director."
This will further strengthen governance and ensure stability while a measured process of board renewal is undertaken, AMP said.
Wilkins will also lead the selection process for a new chief executive, following Craig Meller's resignation.
AMP group general counsel Brian Salter has also left the company, with the board exercising its discretion to forfeit his outstanding deferred remuneration.
Following legal advice in relation to the preparation of the Clayton Utz report on AMP's fee for no service issue, the institution determined that Brenner, Meller and AMP's other directors did not act inappropriately in relation to the report.
"The board commissioned and received the report. It was not a matter for the board's approval," AMP said.
AMP also announced that all board directors have agreed to take a 25% pay cut for the remainder of 2018 and the employment and remuneration consequences for the individuals within the business responsible for the fee for no service issue are under review with a determination expected shortly.
"AMP respects the Royal Commission process. I can assure you that the evidence and submissions presented by Counsel Assisting are being treated extremely seriously by the board. Appropriate steps are being taken to address the issues raised, and remediating our customers is being given utmost priority. On behalf of the board, I reiterate our sincerest apology to our customers, and know we have significant work to do to rebuild their trust," Wilkins said.
AMP will make a formal submission to the Royal Commission by Friday 4 May in response to the matters raised in its closing summations.This article was first published by https://www.financialstandard.com.au/
Author: JAMIE WILLIAMSON