Australian regulator imposes extra conditions on AMP business after surveillance

SYDNEY, April 4 (Reuters) - Australia's largest listed wealth manager, AMP Ltd, will be subjected to additional regulator-imposed conditions when managing investment portfolios for clients, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) said on Thursday.

ASIC, which oversees the operating licences of financial services firms, said it had imposed the conditions on the company's financial planning business following a surveillance program.

It did not specify what those additional conditions were but said they were part of an effort to improve the conduct and compliance standards of the industry.

AMP was embroiled in accusations of deception at a government-mandated inquiry into misconduct in the financial sector last year.

The company subsequently lost its chairman and chief executive officer, hemorrhaged billions of dollars in funds, and is fighting to regain the trust of its customers.

ASIC said its surveillance of AMP included interviews with compliance personnel and advisers, as well as reviews of files of clients that pay AMP for so-called managed discretionary account (MDA) services.

MDAs give financial advisers the discretion to manage investment portfolios on behalf of clients in accordance with agreed investment objectives.

ASIC currently requires firms providing MDA services to act honestly and in the best interest of the client, exercise reasonable care and diligence, maintain adequate documented compliance records and have appropriate policies to manage conflicts of interest.

A spokeswoman for AMP said the company was "pleased" to have obtained approval from the regulator to continue providing MDA services to clients, declining to say what ASIC's additional conditions were.

"AMP Financial Planning has worked constructively with ASIC and will continue to do so, as it further improves the standards of the advice industry going forward," she said. (Reporting by Paulina Duran in SYDNEY; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

2019-04-04 08:22:06

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