The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry has heard that Brian Salter, the general counsel of financial giant AMP, played a key role in providing false and misleading statements to ASIC.
Appearing before the royal commission, AMP group executive Jack Regan admitted to a number of false and misleading statements made by the company in previous breach reports to the corporate regulator.
At the time of writing, counsel assisting Michael Hodge QC of 31 West Chambers had alleged that AMP has made at least 20 false and misleading statements in documents provided to ASIC, a number of which Mr Regan conceded.
Mr Regan also revealed that at least one of the documents he admitted had contained false and misleading information was partly drafted by the ASX-listed company’s general counsel, Brian Salter.
“Was there anybody else employed by AMP who was involved in the drafting of your statement?” Mr Hodge asked.
“Yes,” Mr Regan replied.
“And who was that?” Mr Hodge pressed further.
“Our legal team,” Mr Regan said.
“Was Mr Salter involved in the drafting of your statement?” the QC asked specifically.
“He would have been,” Mr Regan said. “He certainly was familiar with the statement. Yes, he was involved with the statement.”
Mr Hodge also questioned Mr Regan about the “significant delay” between the company’s internal and external legal teams advising that some of its financial services remuneration conduct was unlawful and the filing of breach reports with ASIC.
The documents related to breaches of the Corporations Act implicit in the conduct of “fees for no service” whereby financial planning clients of AMP were charged but never received financial advice services.
“We originally thought it was an administrative oversight,” Mr Regan said. “We subsequently discovered it was a conscious business practice.”
Mr Regan’s testimony before the royal commission continues today alongside other financial institutions accused of “fees for service” conduct.