24th Jul 2018
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AMP was a ‘dictatorship’, declares whistleblower
Author: Janelle Ward
AMP shop front

AMP is again at the coalface with a whistleblower alleging on Four Corners on Monday night that the business was a ‘dictatorship’ and that financial advisers were pressured into selling only AMP products whether they best suited the customer or not.

The latest claims come hard on the heels of revelations extracted from AMP executives at the banking and financial services royal commission that it had lied to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) at least 20 times.

The fallout claimed the scalps of AMP chairman Catherine Brenner and other board members and saw AMP shares fall by about 20 per cent in a month. The company also faces a shareholder class action that could cost it hundreds of millions of dollars.

Brett Strong told Four Corners he signed on as a self-employed representative of AMP in mid-2013 with the aim of growing his independent financial advice business in NSW.

When he started calling the 2000-plus clients on AMP’s books he found most had had no contact from the company in years, despite being charged a monthly fee.

"The AMP clients were being charged every month automatically and not receiving a red razoo," he said.

AMP has admitted that over 10 years, it charged more than 15,000 customers $4.7 million in adviser fees even though their financial planner had left the business and not been replaced.

ASIC is investigating AMP and other financial bodies including ANZ, Commonwealth Bank and NAB over fees for advice that was never given.

Mr Strong told ABC’s current affairs program that AMP’s incentives made him feel like "a corporate slut, a bitch to somebody's command".

"A puppet would be the best way to describe it," he said.

"Somebody above me was always going to pull my strings and I was too naive to realise it, or I was too blinded by the incentives."

He said he resigned after he recommended a long-time client set up a self-managed superannuation fund only to have AMP pressure him to sell an AMP product that would have left his client thousands of dollars a year worse off.

An AMP spokeswoman told Four Corners Mr Strong resigned in March 2014 after it notified him "of compliance issues, including certain advice".

"AMP will review the claims made by Mr Strong to the Four Corners program," she said.

"We encourage any of our advisers or employees – past or present – who have witnessed behaviours they believe don't put customers' interests first to come forward with their concerns.”

A spokesperson for Shine Lawyers, which is leading a class action against Westpac, said: “Under the Future of Financial Advice (FOFA) enacted in 2015, an obligation is imposed on financial advisers to act in the best interest of your client and when looking at your products and the client, that must involve a consideration of a range of products that are the best fit for your client’s needs, not just the company you work for.”

Has the royal commission rocked your faith in the financial advice sector? Do you believe the banks have cleaned up their act?

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    COMMENTS

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    TREBOR
    24th Jul 2018
    10:07am
    That's what you get when you sign your life away for a chance to 'work with' one of the modern vulture style firms...
    MICK
    25th Jul 2018
    10:15am
    AMP was always a nepotistic organisation. We had some shares in the company and despite my better instincts I stayed put because I considered that the culture would change. It didn't.
    Priscilla
    24th Jul 2018
    10:25am
    Sadly I am a client of AMP and some years ago requested that they cease charging me fees for lack of service and received a reply that it was not possible to cancel the fees. If there is a class action against AMP I would like to be on that list. They charge exorbitant exit fees so once you sign up with them you are locked in or have to forfeit a large amount of money to get out. Sadly they are allowed to do as they please, just like the banks.
    Knows-a-lot
    24th Jul 2018
    11:16am
    I hope the Royal Commission gives these bastards at AMP the right royal caning they truly deserve. The financial services industry is totally untrustworthy.
    Anonymous
    24th Jul 2018
    7:28pm
    easy to blame anybody else but yourself, YOU may feel hoodwinked but it was YOU who signed the papers
    Rae
    25th Jul 2018
    10:57am
    Pity you can't take the revenge they deserve without any consequences. Then it would be the AMP getting what they deserve for conniving and stealing from clients.

    We are moving the son in law out of AMP penalties or not. Throwing good money after bad is always a losing trade.

    Best to cop the loss and move on.

    AMP deserves to be destroyed.
    TREBOR
    25th Jul 2018
    1:27pm
    We're gonna need a bigger guillotine and maybe an automatic one...
    Old Geezer
    24th Jul 2018
    12:03pm
    Just another advisor wanting more money from AMP and when they said no he took to the media.
    Rae
    25th Jul 2018
    11:02am
    Something is very wrong at AMP OG. Returns of 1.36% with a $700 charge for advise never given and $12 00 for fees and charges in this boom is definitely dodgy.

    Moving the son in law out. He was there from a previous employ for years and has not much to show for 25 years of hard work and 9.5% of wages going into AMP.

    The heads should be gaoled if corruption can be shown.
    KSS
    24th Jul 2018
    12:15pm
    If people went for years not knowing they were being changed fees for services not rendered doesn't that say they were not checking the paperwork regularly provided by all funds?
    Rae
    25th Jul 2018
    11:06am
    Yes it does KSS which is why compulsory superannuation for everyone opened to shocks and outright thieves shouldn't have ever happened.

    Superannuation should have been opt in for PAYG as it is opt in for business owners.

    Not everyone is in the top half of the bell curve and if you make investment vehicles compulsory you should at least make them safe for the less astute.

    The whole thing is appalling.

    24th Jul 2018
    12:25pm
    2014 - why didn’t he sue the AMP then
    Why wait 4 years
    I’m sure if he was good at his job he would have quickly found another in a reputable organization like CBA or the NAB
    inextratime
    24th Jul 2018
    1:24pm
    I had a small super arrangement with AMP that ran for 16 years. One day I compared what I had contributed to the balance and realised that the amount was less that what I had paid in.
    The fees and sales reps commission ensured that I would have been better stashing the dosh in a piggy bank. When I closed the account and moved the balance to an industry fund, there was very little resistance from AMP, they knew it would happen eventually.
    Old Geezer
    24th Jul 2018
    2:35pm
    I had a small investment back in the 90s with AMP and tripled my money.
    Anonymous
    24th Jul 2018
    6:57pm
    "ran for 16 years, one day I compared etc" and we wonder why they lose their money? enough said!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    floss
    24th Jul 2018
    3:01pm
    Who was the brain dead PM. that started out saying we do not need a Royal Commission.Will Australia become the biggest rip off country in the world or has it reached that point already.
    Old Geezer
    24th Jul 2018
    6:47pm
    We didn't as it's nothing but a witch hunt for minor problems.
    Anonymous
    24th Jul 2018
    7:01pm
    floss, well even the brain dead P.M. did not think we had that many brain dead contributors willing to be relieved of their money!!!!!!!!!!!
    TREBOR
    24th Jul 2018
    7:42pm
    The latter, floss... it's become the biggest ripoff nation in the world.
    Anonymous
    24th Jul 2018
    8:20pm
    no tremor, the dummest nation in the world is more likely the proper statement in this column, comments like "years before checking up on my money invested, 16 years before I checked what was done with my money, charging me fees but I don't know for what, etc", tremor just join that mob, well within your capabilities as you have so well discribed that in your last comment
    TREBOR
    25th Jul 2018
    8:41am
    Enough of the personal jibes, heemie - nobody said anything against you - that's best left to the management here who know full well your capabilities.

    Regardless of the puerile attempts to defend the indefensible from the Usual suspects here, the piece that has been removed from the board in the game of government, banking, management, industrial relations, immigration policies, and countless other (lack of) directions this Poor Fellow My Country has been lead down by the nose for fifty or sixty year by those who should know better... is TRUST.

    Anyone who would repose trust in any organisation such as AMP, with their rapacious profit first motivation and utter lack of morals and ethics - after the revelations about it (and others) is a fool.

    On the other hand, saying that someone is a fool for being taken in by the glib words of these rapists is the same as saying that the person who left their car with the mechanic and came back to find he'd stolen it and bolted was a fool.

    AMP should be made to pay for this kind of immoral and rapacious behaviour, of taking fees for non-service etc.... perhaps they will be forced to take a levy from those who've benefited from it in the past..... line up, OG - with your 'tripled investment' (rolls eyes)...

    "In mid-April more than $2 billion was wiped off AMP's value during two days of bruising revelations at the royal commission which brought to the fore the fees for no advice scandal amongst others, and multiple examples of the company misleading the corporate regulator.

    At Friday's close of $3.60, the stock is trading 34 per cent lower than a 12-month high of $5.47 hit in January."

    https://www.afr.com/business/banking-and-finance/financial-services/why-amp-is-down-but-not-out-after-class-actions-and-royal-commission-revelations-20180713-h12n65

    Couldn't happen to a nicer group of bastards...... people once trusted all these established institutions - now without trust they are struggling indeed.
    Old Geezer
    25th Jul 2018
    11:28am
    Smart money is now buying AMP as it's under valued and ripe for a takeover.
    TREBOR
    25th Jul 2018
    1:28pm
    Smart money wouldn't look at it without massive changes in its ethos.....
    Steph
    24th Jul 2018
    5:41pm
    I was also charged a monthly advice fee for many years without any advice been given. The last 17 months before I changed from AMP my advisor had actually passed away and they never informed me. I would like to put in a claim. Does anyone know who to contact to do this?
    Anonymous
    24th Jul 2018
    7:17pm
    and you paid that fee for many years without knowing what it is for?
    as they say, a fool is easily parted of his/her money, if you are so willing to part with your money at least give it to a organisation like the Salvo's and you be very pleased to know that your contribution will be well spend on improving the lives of many a hard up person or a family who have fallen on hard times
    TREBOR
    25th Jul 2018
    8:47am
    It was about trust, heemie - trust... you DO know that word?

    I hope that people here and elsewhere remember that simple word when the next election comes around... and they will certainly remember when any investment opportunity comes along....

    Regardless of the morals of AMP etc, one has to question the morals of an 'adviser' who would push such things with the full knowledge that it is a ripoff.

    Those execs etc who ran off when this hit the fan should be RICO'd.....
    GrayComputing
    25th Jul 2018
    8:47am
    Not only AMP are rouge robber barons
    A few years ago I was losing well over half of my super which was then with MLC.
    MLC were still charging me thousands of dollars each year whilst losing over $100,000 of my superannuation fund.
    My financial adviser closely tied with MLC did nothing.
    A lot of funds were locked in and could not be extracted till many years later at a huge loss.
    I consider that the whole private superannuation scheme started by Keating has been a massive loss to all working Australians not just me.
    Of course the money was not really lost but ended up making some other companies and share traders even richer
    I dare and challenge any government committee or inquiry to calculate and publically declare the total money loss to all the Australian superannuation contributors over the last 10 years.
    I strongly suggest superannuation be allowed to go into the Australian Future fund which has done so much better than any and all of that bunch of merchants pirates who lied and called themselves good superannuation companies on TV whilst I and other were losing billions.
    TREBOR
    25th Jul 2018
    9:34am
    Correct - all those countless part-time casual short term job owners will have paid an extraordinary amount in fees etc without accruing any genuine benefit.

    A cursory glance will show that is without a single doubt the absolute failing point in the superannuation rort.

    Superannuation was begun as a replacement for a pay rise - when it is all 'vanished' into thin air by fees etc that line the pockets of those running the show, that is just giving those thieves someone's pay rise.

    As many times before - the 'think tanks' that come up with these 'schemes' ALWAYS have every wrinkle worked out before they put it on the table - so anything that happens as a result is intended... so Mick is correct in saying that superannuation is part of the transfer from the poorest in the land (the landless and rightless) into the pockets of the richest.

    Time for a total change.
    TREBOR
    25th Jul 2018
    9:42am
    First step is "NO FEES FOR ACCOUNTS UNDER A CERTAIN LOWER LIMIT" - same with bank accounts etc...

    It is a disgrace when the fat cats can just command their banks that they won't pay fees while the peons are simply lined up like ducks in a shooting gallery.
    libsareliars
    25th Jul 2018
    2:19pm
    These thieves need to be sent to gaol - they are criminals.
    Ritza
    25th Jul 2018
    3:50pm
    Remember AMP decided to support selling Arnotts to Campbells. Another Aussie business gone.
    I do not have anything to do with AMP Lucky me.

    BTW how is our federal govt allowing us to be robbed like this .
    No banking enquiry ? Bulls$&@ .
    I recommend sending the corporate decision makers to jail for 3 + years. Also the bank/company pay hefty fines. Maybe that will encourage some ethics and morals ?
    TREBOR
    25th Jul 2018
    6:33pm
    RICO 'em to the max.... proceeds of criminal activity - make that organised crime.


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