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ASIC drops 'fees for no service' criminal probe into AMP

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The corporate regulator says no further action will be taken against AMP over the financial services firm’s alleged “fees for no service” conduct after finalising its investigation into the matter.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) says it reached the decision to end the probe following consultation with the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP).

“The CDPP has now determined, on the basis of the available evidence and weighing the relevant public interest factors, that no charges should be brought for that conduct,” ASIC said in a statement.

ASIC says the investigation relates to suspected criminal conduct regarding the charging of fees for no service by AMP Financial Planning arising from its Buyer of Last Resort Policy arrangement where the practices of retiring advisers were bought if no other buyers were found.

At the Hayne royal commission hearings in 2018, it was revealed clients of the retired advisers were charged fees for advice they never received.

AMP has welcomed Friday’s announcement from the corporate regulator.

“AMP acknowledges the deficiencies in its historic systems and processes within the advice business to monitor ongoing service fees in relation to [Buyer of Last Resort],”

Group General Counsel David Cullen said.

“In 2018, the business completed the implementation of enhanced systems and controls to improve monitoring and reporting and to protect against recurrence.

“We have apologised to all affected clients and confirm that remediation was also completed in full in 2018.

“With [the] confirmation that no action will be taken, we are pleased to have closure on this matter.”