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Opening remarks to House Economics Committee
Our business |Author Alex Wade
22 November 2019

Thank you, Chair, and good afternoon. Ten months ago, I joined AMP as the Group Executive responsible for Advice and shortly afterwards assumed responsibility for superannuation and client experience. More recently, my role has taken responsibility for AMP Bank, under the newly formed AMP Australia.

It goes without saying that AMP is going through the most challenging time in its 170-year history. The events of the 2018 Royal Commission were deeply confronting, for AMP, and the industry more broadly, and no one felt this more acutely than our clients.  We made mistakes, and we are working as quickly as we can to address them.

Some of the challenges at AMP, highlighted during the Royal Commission process, were:

  • A culture that did not truly put clients first,
  • An overly complex structure, systems and processes, and
  • Inadequate investment in our systems, risk and compliance and a lack of appropriate consideration of non-financial risk.

The Royal Commission has formed an important catalyst for change at AMP, we have learnt some valuable lessons, and we are changing.

I can assure you that AMP’s renewed leadership team is fully committed to rebuilding trust, and fixing what needs to be fixed.  

Given the changes we are making as an organisation, I believe our path forward will be paved by relentless client focus, strong leadership, better systems, risk management and compliance.

With that backdrop, AMP is working hard to implement the recommendations of the Final Report of the Royal Commission. Where we can, we are taking initiative and moving ahead of the Government’s implementation roadmap.

Where legislation is first required, we are working constructively with Government, regulators and industry to ensure that any changes work in favour of our clients and we are committed to continuing that engagement. 

However, the Royal Commission was about more than the final recommendations. The industry learnt broader lessons, many relating to culture.

I’d like to briefly share a few of the ways we are working to transform AMP, which can be distilled into three main themes:

1.       Culture

Our approach to changing culture is focused around leadership, systems and symbols. Some recent examples include:

We have a renewed Board, Leadership Team and senior leadership group, all deeply committed to our clients, our people and the industry.

We have new behaviours and are aligning our people processes to those behaviours. We are ensuring roles have clear ownership and accountability for delivering the best client outcomes.

We’ve hired a new Group Whistleblowing Officer, responsible for leading an enhanced whistleblower function that focuses on awareness, training and investigations across the business.

All employees supporting our superannuation business, including support services, are required to undertake a new, mandatory training module to raise the awareness of the role of the Trustee Board and Trustee Office.  

And we’ve recently expanded the remit of AMP’s Customer Advocate, to allow an even stronger focus on resolving serious complaints.

2.       Simplify, and improve risk and compliance

We are strengthening risk management, internal controls, and governance. This includes an investment of $100 million over two years to strengthen AMP’s risk management, internal controls and governance.

We are establishing clearly defined accountabilities across three lines of defence for ownership and governance of risks, and the prioritisation of non-financial risk.

We are reducing complexity, with the consolidation of our super funds from seven to two, and the reduction of superannuation products from more than 80 to less than a dozen.

A new trustee operating model has been established and we’ve undertaken significant trustee board renewal, appointing new Directors to our Trustee Boards.

3.       Become more client focused

AMP has reduced fees on a number of its products and platforms. Together these reductions have benefited almost 700,000 existing clients and will benefit all new clients.

We are prioritising remediation and are focused on getting money back into the hands of clients as quickly as possible. The programme is tracking to both budget and time.

We now start our internal meetings with a shared ‘client moment’, detailing where we have demonstrated client service excellence or have changed something that needed changing. This is also being mirrored on our internal social channels, which has seen around 4000 interactions since it launched in May.

Ten months into the role, I acknowledge the significance of our challenge. I’d like to reaffirm, as the new leader of the Australian business, together with the leadership team, we are committed to making the changes needed to move AMP and our industry forward. While we have a big job ahead of us, we are determined to get it right.

Thank you, and I welcome your questions.