AMP strikes defiant tone as tougher laws proposed

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Australia’s AMP said today that any new finance sector regulation would “distract” participants from acting ethically, striking a defiant tone after a year in which the troubled wealth manager has been dogged by allegations and scandal.

AMP was responding to an interim report from the Royal Commission. “The more complicated the law, the easier it is to lose sight of them,” AMP said.

“There is every chance that adding a new layer of law and regulation would serve only to distract attention from the very simple ideas that must inform the conduct of financial services entities.”

The Royal Commission inquiry follows a prolonged scandal across the Australian financial industry that has left the sector reeling in the wake of successive revelations of wrongdoing, particularly among the country’s “big four” banks.

AMP is facing a record five class-action lawsuits on behalf of its shareholders, and overall shares have dropped by 50% since the start of the year.

The company is preparing for its new CEO, Francesco De Ferrari, to take up the reins on 1 December. Upon news of De Ferrari’s appointment in August, he was heralded as a “serious change agent.”

Today’s protestation from AMP comes as the national regulator, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) launches a consultation to review its guidance for financial services companies.

The Royal Commissions’s full report is expected to be published, with widespread implications, in February.

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Christopher Copper-Ind

Christopher Copper-Ind is editor-in-chief of International Investment. Before this, he was editorial director of The Business Year, from 2014 to 2017.

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