AMP chairman Catherine Brenner has resigned this morning, after mounting pressure to step down following details that emerged at the banking royal commission.
Brenner’s resignation follows that of AMP chief executive Craig Meller, who stepped down last week, earlier than his planned departure that was due to occur later this year.
Evidence heard at the commission include that AMP misled ASIC, the corporate regulator, on 20 occasions regarding a deliberate practice of charging for financial advice that customers were never going to receive.
AMP has also come under fire regarding an independent review into AMP by law firm Clayton Utz, of which AMP was given 25 drafts, and which was found to have been altered by senior executives.
A statement released by AMP this morning says that: “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.”
It continues that the board, including the 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.”
AMP also announced that Group General Counsel Brian Salter will leave the company, and his outstanding deferred remuneration will be forfeited as a result of the board exercising its discretion.
“The board commissioned and received the report. It was not a matter for the Board’s approval.”
Brenner said in a statement released by AMP that she was “honoured” to have been chairman of AMP, but that she’s accountable for governance as chairman.
“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,” she said.
“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.”
Catherine Brenner practiced as a corporate lawyer until 1997, when she joined investment bank ABN AMRO, where she worked her way up to managing director.
She has was appointed chair of AMP in 2016.