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Chairman of financial services giant steps down

Board members, chairman steps down

In the wake of the royal commission’s revelations, the chairman of a major financial services giant has resigned, effective immediately.

AMP chairman Catherine Brenner announced her exit this morning. It follows the departure of AMP CEO Craig Meller on 20 April.  

Ms Brenner said she is “deeply disappointed by the issues at hand”, but acknowledged that as chairman she is responsible for governance at AMP.

“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. 

“The board has now accepted my resignation as chairman as a step towards restoring the trust and confidence in AMP.”

Mike Wilkins, chairman of AMP’s Risk Committee, will step in as executive chairman as AMP undertakes the process of appointing a new non-executive director and chairman.

Group general counsel and company secretary Brian Salter will also leave AMP and will not receive his deferred remuneration. 

In announcing the movements, the AMP board also recognised that it had “collective governance accountability” for the issues raised during the royal commission and their associated impact on AMP’s reputation.

As such, the board said it would reduce fees for all AMP Limited board directors by 25 per cent until the end of 2018.

The departures from AMP come amid claims AMP charged some customers fees for services they did not receive, and concerns that a review of AMP's buyer of last resort (BOLR) policy, conducted by commercial law firm Clayton Utz, was "materially incorrect" and intended to deceive the corporate regulator, ASIC, as counsel assisting, Rowena Orr QC raised. 

Ms Orr also advised commissioner Ken Hayne that AMP could have contravened the Corporations Act and the ASIC Act. Both contraventions carry criminal penalties. 

The interim executive CEO, Mr Wilkins said this morning: "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 process will help ensure stability and further strengthen governance.

“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.”

Chairman of financial services giant steps down
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