Shareholders commence AMP class action
SYDNEY, 10 May 2018: Angry shareholders have today launched a class action against AMP Limited in the Federal Court of Australia seeking damages for alleged disclosure contraventions. The claimants are represented by leading class action firm, Phi Finney McDonald, with funding from Australia’s largest litigation funder IMF Bentham Limited (ASX:IMF).
Phi Finney McDonald Director, Tim Finney, said that the action would seek compensation for investors who acquired AMP shares between 6 May 2013 and 13 April 2018 (inclusive) (the Claim Period).
The class action follows the explosive information revealed during the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry.
“AMP has admitted that it deliberately and systematically charged consumers fees for services that were not provided. It then misled the corporate regulator, by describing its practices as due to an administrative error,” Mr Finney said. “AMP has failed its clients. It has badly let down its many loyal shareholders, who had the right to expect more from one of Australia’s largest and most reputable financial services companies.”
AMP has apologised for its conduct in the wake of the Royal Commission’s revelations. Its CEO, Chairman, Group General Counsel, and three non-executive directors have all left the company.
“The conduct which AMP has admitted to was disgraceful. The fact that Counsel Assisting has referred to criminal charges says it all. The class action alleges that AMP was aware of these practices for many years, that its conduct gave rise to significant legal and regulatory risk, and that AMP then misled the regulator. Shareholders allege that this was material information that AMP withheld from the market, and claim compensation for the losses that they have suffered as a result.” Said Tim Finney.
IMF Bentham Investment Manager, Ewen McNee said, “As Australia’s leading litigation funder, IMF is pleased to provide AMP shareholders with an avenue to seek compensation for their losses, and to hold the company to account for its conduct.”
AMP shareholders are encouraged to register for the action at www.imf.com/amp.
The Financial Services Royal Commission has exposed AMP’s long-running practice of charging ongoing services fees:
- without providing any relevant service or advice to customers; and/or
- in circumstances where AMP lacked any capacity to provide any relevant service or advice to customers.
These fees breached the Corporations Act (Act), contracts with customers, and the conditions of applicable Australian Financial Services Licences (AFSLs). The Royal Commission has heard that senior management personnel at AMP were aware of these practices and were aware that they contravened the Act and the conditions of applicable AFSLs.
AMP misled ASIC about these fees, by mischaracterising them as ‘administrative errors’. In practice, the fees were charged to customers by deliberate AMP policy.
In the weeks since these matters were uncovered by the Royal Commission:
- AMP’s share price has fallen from $4.78 (at the close on 13 April 2018) to $4.02 (at the close on 27 April 2018), a fall of 16%;
- the Chief Executive Officer, Craig Meller, has resigned;
- the Chairperson, Catherine Brenner, has stepped down from her role;
- three other non-executive directors have left the board; and
- the General Counsel, Brian Salter has left the company.
Counsel assisting the Royal Commission has suggested there may be more findings of misconduct by AMP, including criminal misconduct by knowingly misleading ASIC.
Phi Finney McDonald is one of Australia’s leading class action law firms, specialising in shareholder class actions.
What can Shareholders do?
Phi Finney McDonald and IMF Bentham encourage all investors who acquired shares in AMP between 6 May 2013 and 13 April 2018 (inclusive) to register their interest via IMF Bentham’s confidential, dedicated website page (www.imf.com/amp).