The wealth manager’s group executive for advice and New Zealand, Anthony Regan, took to the stand on Monday to answer questions around fees the firm charged to thousands of customers even though they received no advice or service.
Regan said AMP mislead Asic 20 times over this issue.
This involved covering up the deliberate nature of its 90-day fee policy, where clients were charged for that period even though they were not getting any advice.
At a press conference on 18 April, Morrison said AMP’s misleading behaviour was “deeply disturbing”.
“They have said that they basically charged people for services they didn’t provide and they have admitted to statements that were misleading – to Asic and to their own customers, and this is deeply distressing,” Morrison said.
“This type of behaviour can attract penalties which include jail time. That’s how serious these things are,” he said.
Civil and criminal sanctions
Morrison’s comments echo a similar statement from Asic, which has been cooperating with the Royal Commission on a range of matters that include both current and previous investigations.
It said: “More broadly, all financial institutions need to understand the importance of co-operating with the regulator and complying with the law when providing information to Asic.
“Making false or misleading statements to Asic can result in civil and criminal sanctions.”
More than 300,000 customers from Australia’s big four banks and AMP are being collectively refunded A$216m (£118m, $168m, €136m) after they were charged for advice they never received.
As reported by International Adviser, ANZ Bank was recently fined for charging fees but providing no service to clients.
The commission entered its eleventh day on Monday and will, over the next two weeks, focus on companies that give financial advice.