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Bank chairman steps down as scandals unfold

by James Mitchell4 minute read
catherine brenner chairman steps down royal commission misconduct

The chair of a non-major lender has stepped down from the board just one week after the bank lost its CEO after the royal commission heard widespread evidence of misconduct within the group.

AMP has announced that chairman Catherine Brenner has stepped down from the board, following weeks of damning revelations of inappropriate and, in some cases, illegal conduct from its advisers.

Mike Wilkins will lead AMP as executive chairman for an interim period.

“I am honoured to have been chairman of AMP. I am deeply disappointed by the issues at hand and am particularly concerned for the impact they have had on our customers, employees, advisers and shareholders,” Ms Brenner said.

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“As chairman, I am accountable for governance. I have always sought to act in the best interests of the company and have been in discussions with the board about the most appropriate course of action, including my resignation. The board has now accepted my resignation as chairman as a step towards restoring the trust and confidence in AMP.”

AMP also announces that group general counsel and company secretary Brian Salter will leave the company. His outstanding deferred remuneration will be forfeited as a result of the board exercising its discretion.

The board has received advice from Philip Crutchfield QC, Tamieka Spencer Bruce of Counsel and Tim Bednall of King & Wood Mallesons in relation to certain issues raised in the royal commission concerning the preparation of the Clayton Utz report on AMP’s “fee for no service” issue. The advice follows the establishment of the board committee chaired by Mr Wilkins to examine the issues relating to AMP’s advice business that have been raised in the royal commission.

“Having considered and assessed the matters, the board is satisfied that the former chairman, Catherine Brenner, former chief executive officer Craig Meller and the other directors did not act inappropriately in relation to the preparation of the Clayton Utz report,” AMP said in a statement.

“The board, including the former chairman, were unaware of and disappointed about the number of drafts and the extent of the group general counsel’s interaction with Clayton Utz during the preparation of the report. The board commissioned and received the report. It was not a matter for the board’s approval.”

AMP will be making a formal submission to the royal commission by Friday, 4 May, in response to the matters raised in closing submissions by counsel assisting the royal commission.

[Related: CEO of AMP resigns with immediate effect]

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James Mitchell

James Mitchell

AUTHOR

James Mitchell has over eight years’ experience as a financial reporter and is the editor of Wealth and Wellness at Momentum Media.

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