ASIC ends criminal case against AMP

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Financial services group AMP will not face criminal prosecution three years after a banking royal commission found it had charged fees to thousands of dead customers.

The inquiry’s barristers had recommended Australia’s largest wealth manager face criminal charges for lying to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission about the conduct.

But the corporate regulator on Friday said it had ended its investigation into the fees-for-no-service issue.

ASIC had gone to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, presenting two briefs of evidence in mid-2020, with a view to criminal charges being laid.

“The CDPP has now determined, on the basis of the available evidence and weighing the relevant public interest factors, that no charges should be brought for that conduct,” ASIC said.

AMP had charged thousands of superannuation customers fees for life insurance, despite knowing there was no longer a life to insure.

The allegations emerged during evidence to the Financial Services Royal Commission in 2018 and was a key finding in its report.

Banking royal commissioner Kenneth Hayne QC wanted ASIC to take criminal action over the conduct.

Mr Hayne in his interim report said AMP had adopted an attitude towards the regulator that appeared to him not to be forthright and honest, but he left the matter in ASIC’s hands.

AMP said it was pleased the matter was now closed.

“We have apologised to all affected clients and confirm that remediation was also completed in full in 2018,” it said in a statement.

AMP noted it had at the time improved monitoring and reporting to protect against such a thing happening again.

The fees-for-no-service scandal claimed the jobs of AMP’s then CEO and chair, led to a share price slump and sparked shareholder class actions.

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