AMP's share price took a battering yesterday as the company admitted it made at least 20 "false and misleading" statements to ASIC over the past seven years.
The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry entered the second day of its hearings into wealth management yesterday, with AMP head of advice Anthony 'Jack' Regan spending the entire day in the witness box.
Counsel assisting Michael Hodge QC spent a grueling day taking Mr Regan through evidence provided by AMP, including breach reports to ASIC, external auditor reports, board-level meeting minutes and employee email correspondence.
Mr Hodge established that AMP had deceived ASIC about the nature of its 'buyer of last resort' policy and the resulting 'fee for no service' breaches, which were deliberate rather than the result of administrative errors.
Mr Regan had admitted to at least 20 "false and misleading" statements by 11am, by which time the two men decided they had begun to lose count.
AMP's head of advice also admitted it was "clear" that AMP preferenced shareholder interests over those of clients in the matter of 'fees for no service'.
Asked about AMP's culture, Mr Regan said: "There are a number of areas where we need to improve significantly."
"The way I contemplate organisations it starts with culture, it goes to governance, capabilities, processes... culture is the invisible hand that guides decisions. It's evident that hasn't happened in some cases... certainly there are areas where the risk culture needs to improve," he said.
AMP's share price experienced the biggest decline of the day on the ASX200 (down 4.41 per cent to $4.55) as the broader market edged up 0.1 per cent.
Mr Hodge also called into question the independence of an ASIC-ordered Clayton Utz report into the 'fees for no service' issue at AMP, establishing the report had been heavily edited by AMP and had had CEO Craig Meller's name redacted from it.
At the end of the day's proceedings, Commissioner Kenneth Hayne highlighted the seriousness of the revelations about the Clayton Utz report by indicating that AMP's leadership and its legal team deserved a right of reply.
The public hearings continue tomorrow, when it is expected AMP head of platform experience John Keating will take the stand.
You can follow the hearings from 9:45am on a live blog at InvestorDaily's sister title, ifa.