AMP NZ’s profits drop, takeover bid of parent company pulled

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The local operations of the Australian based financial services group, AMP, have had a fall in full year profit because of Covid disruptions.

AMP is an Australian financial services company. This is its office in Melbourne.

Photo: 123rf

The New Zealand wealth management unit’s operating earnings for the year ended December fell 19 percent to $38.6 million from $47m the year before.

The company said the business showed stability in an unprecedented period for clients, but the lockdowns affected its earnings from investment advice.

The New Zealand business has been operating as a stand alone unit, albeit slimmed down, after the parent ditched plans to divest it in 2019.

The New Zealand chief executive Blair Vernon said a new normal after the Covid disruptions was evolving.

“I’m reticent to say there’s any return to pre-Covid … our own business is very different, we’re now operating a fully flexible model so our whole workplace has changed, and we’re dealing with many employers across the country who are either facing substantial disruption or still going through the effects.”

Vernon said more than $10m had been withdrawn from KiwiSaver funds on hardship grounds, but in-flows had since improved and by the end of the year total assets undermanagement had increased by 4 percent on the year before to $13.3 billion.

He said the the number of inquiries about using KiwiSaver investment for house deposits had increased significantly but that had not flowed through into any noticeable increase in actual withdrawals.

Vernon said the confirmation of AMP’s overall group structure, after talks with US investment company Ares about a possible bid came to an end, had secured the New Zealand business’s future direction.

“It reinforces the strategy we’ve pursued which is running New Zealand as a standalone business so we are able to operate in New Zealand autonomously for our clients … so we’ve separated our IT, and repatriated all processing from offshore.”

The company has moved to employ global investment fund Blackrock to manage assets using passive or index tracking, although Vernon said there was more work to do to complete the transition.

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