AMP maintained equity stake strategy

Little more than a month out from releasing its first-half results and an expected outline of its new corporate direction, AMP Limited has confirmed that it has maintained its strategy of taking equity stakes in aligned advice firms.

Amid increasing speculation over the future direction and shape of the AMP advice business in the wake of the Royal Commission, Money Management formally asked the company whether it had continued the equity stake strategy first outlined in 2017.

Money Management also asked the exact number of the aligned businesses AMP now had a stake in.

A company spokesman confirmed the equity stake strategy had remained on foot but declined to specify the number of advice businesses in which AMP had taken a stake. Instead, he said that the position would become clear when the company announced its half-year results next month.

AMP made clear its equity stake intentions in 2017 during an investor strategy day in which it directly referred to “equity participation to drive mutual revenue growth” in aligned advice firms, and while recent attention has been focused on its proposed sale of AMP Life to Resolution Life, adviser interest has continued to be focused on the future of its advice business.

AMP in February appeared to signal some of its strategic intent when it revealed that the number of advisers within its core licensees had declined by 4.6 per cent last year.

The company published a chart of the existing shape of its advice network in Australia, revealing that the total number of so-called “core licensees” had declined to 2,567 as at December, last year, compared to 2,692.

That chart also revealed that the greatest decline had been amongst AMP Financial Planning advisers – down to 1,334 in 2018 from 1,437 a year before.

At that time, the company continued to point to the manner in which it intended to “reshape” the advice network and improve economics.

The company’s most recent material filed with the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) reveals that the bulk of its advisers are employed under the AMP Financial Planning umbrella but, importantly, the second-largest number fall under Charter Financial Planning which is comprised of 343 financial planning practices, most of which are privately owned.

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