AMP Household brand

We in the profession of financial planning must stop re-writing history with the same mistakes and permitting the government from doing the same – year in, year out since the 1980s.

If we lose AMP as a household brand name, we must hold those responsible to account. Their names must be publish in every historical record of the financial planning profession. The Government of the day is also responsible for the demise of AMP and should hang their heads for each year of shame, and there are many!

Government legislation and regulations are to blame. The red tape is so opaque and enormous that no reasonable person could explain why it exists or explain why so few did so much damage to AMP, an Australian household brand name.

Former AMP chairman Ian Burgess once said the best job you could get as a businessman in Australia was the chairman of AMP or BHP. AMP chairman was an elite, sought-after position that would set you up for life – in cash and prestige.

AMP faces a class action brought by former advisers claiming changes to a longstanding policy have thrown them into debt. The way AMP has treated its advisers has been described as “unconscionable” by politicians on both sides of the aisle.

TIMELINE

Ups and downs: AMP’s 160 year history

  • 1849 – AMP established.
  • 1858 – AMP started operating in the UK.
  • 1962 – AMP’s Phillip Street headquarters opened by then PM Robert Menzies.
  • 1989 – AMP bought Pearl Assurance for $2.5 billion in the largest takeover of a financial institution in UK history.
  • 1990 – Paul Keating’s six pillar policy recognises AMP as a powerful company.
  • 1998 – AMP demutualised and listed on the ASX. George Trumbull bought UK funds manager Henderson and National Provident Institution as part of UK expansion.
  • 1999 – January – Trumbull launches “disastrous” takeover bid for GIO.
  • 1999 – February – Trumbull’s dinner with then PM John Howard and treasurer Peter Costello.  Trumbull leaves, Paul Batchelor appointed CEO.
  • 2000 – “Biggest boardroom shake-out” in Australian corporate history. Chair Ian Burgess and four directors resign.
  • 2002 – Batchelor resigns over Pearl capitalisation.  Andrew Mohl appointed CEO.
  • 2003 – Stan Wallis resigns early as AMP reports $900 million loss.
  • 2005 – Peter Willcox steps down as chair declaring “AMP is no longer in crisis” on May 19. Peter Mason appointed as chair.
  • 2008 – Andrew Mohl steps down, Craig Dunn takes over as CEO.  AMP started charging customers fees for no service.
  • 2010 – Boe Pahari joins AMP Capital to lead infrastructure business.
  • 2010 – Boris Glushankov joins AMP’s financial planning network. AMP’s bank offered its budding planners loans, using the value of the client register as security. Glushankov took on $270,843 in debt to buy the register at 4 times recurring income. “Many of the customers on the client register did not exist. Some had been placed on a “do not call” register. Others were simply not interested in receiving financial advice. Glushankov estimates more than half the people on the register were defective. This is a common experience among AMP’s planners that are now suing the company.”
  • 2011 – AMP buys AXA Asia Pacific.
  • 2013 – Dunn steps down as CEO, Craig Meller becomes CEO.
  • 2014 – “Kingpin of financial services” Mason retires as chair.
  • 2014 – Simon McKeon becomes chairman.
  • 2016 – McKeon resigns unexpectedly in May. Catherine Brenner takes chairmanship
  • 2017 – May – Boe Pahari allegedly sexually harasses Julia Szlakowski. November – Banking Royal Commission is launched.
  • 2018 – April 17 – Royal Commission hears AMP charged fees for no service, attempted to cover it up and chair Brenner modified an “independent” report on the misconduct.
  • 2018 – April 20 – Meller resigns as CEO.
  • 2018 – April 30 – AMP chief legal counsel Brian Salter sacked  – saying he had read about it in an ASX announcement. Brenner resigns as AMP chairman, and Mike Wilkins takes the role immediately.
  • 2018 – May 4 – David Murray becomes the third person to chair AMP in the space of a week.
  • 2018 – May – Julia Szlakowski leaves AMP after the firm failed to resolve her sexual harassment complaint.
  • 2018 -August 18 – Royal Commission hears AMP charges super members excessive fees.
  • 2018 – August 23 – Boris Glushankov resigns as an AMP Financial Adviser still owing $93,000 on his loan
  • 2018 – December – Francesco De Ferrari appointed CEO.
  • 2019 – Proxy advisers recommend Telstra dump Craig Dunn from its board for overseeing AMP during fees for no service scandal.
  • 2020 – June – Pahari promoted to AMP Capital CEO.
  • 2020 – July – AMP completes the sale of its Life Insurance business.
  • 2020 – July – Former AMP advisers, including Boris Glushankov and David Haseldine, launch a class action against AMP Financial Planning for Buyer Of Last Resort contracts where AMP agreed to purchase client books of retiring advisers for four times the recurring annual revenue but this was reduced to 2.5 times in an effort to cut costs.
  • 2020 – August 6 – Alex Wade resigns from AMP Australia CEO amid allegations he sent nude photos to staff.
  • 2020 – August 13 – De Ferrari refuses to comment on culture of sexual harassment. Declares culture his number one priority. AMP reports 40 per cent fall in June 30 half year profit.

References:

By Charlotte Grieve and Elizabeth Knight, AMP’s curse: The company that kills careers, 21 August 2020

By Charlotte Grieve, ‘No moral fibre’: AMP advisers launch class action against wealth giant, 29 July 2020

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