The wealth group said it identified “lower level breaches” of its code of conduct from the new chief of AMP Capital and penalised him appropriately, as a harassment claim from his past has risen to the surface.
Boe Pahari commenced in his role as the new chief executive of AMP Capital on Wednesday, after working as the asset manager’s global head of infrastructure equity and as a director of the north-west region (UK, Europe and the Americas).
But media coverage on Thursday reported staff had challenged Mr Pahari’s capacity to ensure a safe workplace during a company video meeting, with reference to a sexual harassment claim made against him by an unnamed former female colleague in 2017.
Reports said AMP and the woman had reached a settlement in 2018.
A spokesperson for the group said the complaint had regarded comments made by Mr Pahari to the woman and the group had conducted an investigation led by an external lawyer.
“The external investigation identified lower level breaches of AMP’s code of conduct for which Mr Pahari had appropriate consequences imposed, including a financial penalty and counselling for his conduct,” the spokesperson said.
“Mr Pahari accepted the findings and apologised to the colleague.”
Prior to Mr Pahari’s promotion to CEO, the board and group chief executive Francesco De Ferrari had reviewed the matter and the investigation findings.
The spokesperson commented Mr De Ferrari and the board were satisfied that the investigation had been thorough and the consequences Mr Pahari received were “significant and appropriate”.
Sometime after the settlement was made, AMP Capital published an ESG update on its website in June 2018, which pointed to the Australian Human Rights Commission’s national inquiry into workplace sexual harassment and the Me Too movement.
It noted sexual harassment can have a severe impact on workplaces, with “higher staff turnover and absenteeism, lower engagement and productivity and increased compensation claims and complaints”.
“While progress has definitely been made on the gender diversity front, most organisations are yet to tackle the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace,” it read.
“How a company responds to issues such as these, will tell you [a] lot about its governance frameworks, the quality and openness of the board and company culture.”
The AMP code of conduct has a section stating the group does not tolerate behaviours such as bullying, discrimination and sexual harassment.
It also states that breaches of the code, policies or the law may be subject to disciplinary action that may include (but is not limited to) performance counselling, a formal warning, withholding of incentives, termination of employment and legal action.
Mr Pahari joined AMP Capital in 2010.
He has a reported 25 years of experience in financial services, having worked across companies such as Citigroup and Commonwealth Bank.
The previous AMP Capital CEO, Adam Tindall, retired after four years in the role. He had been a member of Male Champions of Change, an advocacy group of male leaders for gender equality.
Sarah Simpkins is a journalist at Momentum Media, reporting primarily on banking, financial services and wealth.
Prior to joining the team in 2018, Sarah worked in trade media and produced stories for a current affairs program on community radio.
You can contact her on [email protected].