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Opening Statement for the House Economics Committee - Superannuation, Round 2
Our business |Author Francesco De Ferrari
10 September 2020

Thank you Chair.

Here with me today is Lara Bourguignon, Managing Director of AMP’s superannuation business.

We welcome the opportunity to answer your questions.

I recognise that today’s hearings are focused on superannuation but given recent events, there are three topics I would like to cover – the actions we’ve taken to address recent issues, the progress we’ve made in our superannuation business since we appeared last November, and the changes in our advice business, including our Buyer of Last Resort (BOLR) scheme.

The past few months have been some of the most challenging for me; both personally and professionally.

I know this is the case for many people across our business. The issues debated in public do not reflect AMP’s founding purpose or the company I joined and am proud to work for. They do not reflect the company that our employees work hard for every day.

As CEO of this company, ultimately, I am responsible for setting the culture – a responsibility I take very seriously.

Where harassment occurs – including sexual harassment – I am determined to take action and address the problem. Misconduct of any kind is not acceptable at AMP.

Based on the data I have seen, I do not believe misconduct is systemic within our business. However, I am committed to driving a program of initiatives to build a more diverse, inclusive and respectful culture.

We are partnering with external expert Symmetra, to lead a comprehensive workplace conduct review and improve our leadership capability, using inclusion to drive performance. We’ve established an Inclusion Taskforce that I chair. We’ve set up an Integrity Office and the Board has created a Culture Working Group led by our Chair Debra Hazelton.

While the feedback I receive from employees about AMP’s culture is positive, there are clearly areas where we need to improve.

Fixing those areas is my absolute priority.

Turning now to superannuation which is the focus of these hearings:

Superannuation continues to be a critical part of AMP’s transformation strategy as we focus on building a best-in-class superannuation business and delivering for clients.

Since the last superannuation hearing, we have made significant progress in simplifying the business.

Following the completion of the sale of AMP Life, we now have a single trustee, down from two; two funds, down from seven; two product administration systems, down from nine; and 39 products, down from almost a hundred.

Simplifying the business makes it more competitive and member-focused and has allowed us to reduce fees for over 550,000 existing and new members.

In addition, we have switched off grandfathered commissions early, with the benefits flowing to members.

Simplification is a multi-year undertaking that is designed to deliver better member outcomes.

At a broader level, we’ve prioritised supporting our clients through the recent economic challenges.

We were pleased to participate in the Government’s response to COVID-19 through the Early Release of Super Scheme.

To date we have processed over 192,000 requests, and our liquidity remains strong.

More widely, we’ve delivered home loan deferrals and pro-bono financial advice to help people weather financial uncertainty, a problem I believe will persist for the foreseeable future, and which will continue to have my close attention.

On the subject of advice, in response to a rapidly changing environment and complex industry disruption, we’re reshaping our business to make it more sustainable, professional and productive.

This has required difficult decisions, including resetting AMPFP's BOLR commercial terms. Throughout this process we’ve worked hard to support our aligned advisers as we build a more sustainable network of high-quality practices which will ultimately benefit clients.

Thank you, and I look forward to taking your questions

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Mark Roberts
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