The CEO of AMP, Craig Meller, has resigned from his position active immediately and has become the first senior executive to resign since the start of the banking royal commission. The resignation was joined by an official apology by AMP to its customers.
The royal commission has heard that AMP lied to ASIC for nearly over 10 years to cover up its practises of charging customers extra fees for advice they were never given.
Mr Meller said that he was “devastated” by everything that has become public knowledge since the start of the royal commission. He said the impact has been significant on all of the various stakeholders in the company.
He said that it was not the “AMP I know” and that customers should not expect this kind of behaviour from his company. He said that he did not condone any of the false reporting to ASIC but that since he was CEO at the time they occurred it was an “appropriate measure” that he stepped down and worked to restore AMP’s public image.
The reveal of these scandals has coincided with the Government’s announcement of tougher penalties for corporate criminals. The penalties include $210 million fines for financial service companies.
The fall from grace of Mr Meller has gone surprisingly quickly given the fact that AMP only began supplying evidence last week. The most damning evidence was a statement from another employee who said that they had lost count of how many times AMP had misled ASIC in reporting.
The royal commission has also put out a large amount of papers showing that AMP had planned to influence an independent review of the company by the law firm Clayton Utz. The review would have downplayed the involvement and knowledge of senior members of the company.
AMP made a statement to the ASX saying that would conduct a “comprehensive review” of the company’s governance process and regulatory reporting. AMP said that the work would be supervised by an independent legal expert.
Finance Minister Mathias Cormann said of Mr Meller’s resignation that it was clear there was some very concerning news to come out of the royal commission. He said that this was “obviously one of the consequences” of the revelations thus far.
AMP has identified over 15,000 of its customers as having been charged fees for counsel that they never received and has refunded $4.7 million so far.