AMP has strenuously denied allegations made during the Royal Commission that it is open to being charged with committing a criminal offence over the Clayton Utz Report provided to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).
The financial services firm has also denied suggestions at the Royal Commission around the existence of a general rule around fees being switched on for around 90 days after a client became orphaned.
In a submission responding to the issues raised in the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services, AMP said that the Clayton Utz report had been “uncompromisingly direct and comprehensive” and had been the result of multiple employee interviews.
“It can only have been of assistance to ASIC in its investigation, and to Counsel Assisting in preparing cross-examination. It contains serious adverse findings, including a number of inaccurate or misleading statements to ASIC which form the basis of Counsel Assisting’s submission on that topic,” the submission said.
It went on to say that the issues raised by the case study with respect to AMP concerned matters that were almost entirely the subject of an ongoing ASIC investigation which was nearing completion at the time the Royal Commission began.
On the question of the so-called 90-day rule, the submission said: “The 90 day exception and ringfencing were exceptions to the BOLR Policy, generally authorised by the Managing Director or Head of Financial Planning of the relevant Advice Licensee, under a purported exercise of delegated authority”.
The AMP submission then goes on to extensively outline the approach adopted by the AMP board and to justify the actions to it took, stating “there can be no fair criticism of the entire Board’s role in relation to the [Clayton Utz] report.
However, in doing so, the AMP submission pointed to the role of the company’s legal counsel, Brian Salter and said “the extent of the involvement that Mr Salter had in the preparation of the report was surprising to the Board of AMP as it was to Mr Regan.