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AMP legal action nears as ASIC probes ‘significant number’ of matters

Labor Senator Deb O’Neill has also called on ASIC to investigate whether changes to long-standing arrangements with current and former aligned advisers could have broken the law.

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However, the coronavirus pandemic has made it impossible for the regulator to conduct face-to-face interviews to probe new allegations of misconduct so any legal action against AMP would likely centre on revelations from the banking royal commission, including charging fees for no service.

AMP declined to comment on the pending legal action but said it would help ASIC with any investigations.

The warning of legal action came as ASIC’s deputy chair Karen Chester said she was disappointed with how long it was taking the financial sector to pay back wronged customers.

“We do think there are opportunities for the banks and other financial services firms to do a much better on [remediation], not just in terms of the timeliness but also setting things right,” Ms Chester said

ASIC deputy chair Karen Chester said she was disappointed with the speed at which money was reaching wronged customers.

ASIC deputy chair Karen Chester said she was disappointed with the speed at which money was reaching wronged customers. Credit:Edwina Pickles

Workplace culture needed to be improved so that systemic misconduct could be identified, reported and compensated in a more streamlined fashion, Ms Chester said.

“The longer it takes these institutions to identify these problems early on and the delay then in realising there is a systemic problem … means that remediation becomes a slow, long legacy to be paid,” Ms Chester said.

ASIC is overseeing 89 remediation programs involving 100 licensees. Of those, $828 million had been returned to customers and the regulator expected a further $2.9 billion to be paid to more than 2 million customers over the next 18 months.

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