Banks wealth exit the right call: AMP CEO

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Ms George said bank-owned wealth managers had struggled to get the sufficient “attention and investment” required to develop quality products and provide advice to customers. “I think it’s important for wealth management to be the primary focus within an organisation,” she said.

But while the right decision for her former employer and the other major banks to sell their wealth assets, Ms George said the decision to sell ANZ Wealth to rival IOOF was difficult.

“Wealth goes to the core of my being,” she said. “So telling my people that we were selling a business I loved was one of the hardest decisions of my life. But the right decision for my people.”

All four of the major banks have, to varying extents, returned to core functions of lending and deposit-taking.

The appearance comes less than a week after AMP entered an enforceable undertaking with the prudential regulator over super trustee breaches heard by the Hayne royal commission.

Ms George revealed that while the company faced “challenges”, she “hardly hesitated” to take the job as AMP CEO – described as “the toughest in Australian business” by Chanticleer in April.

Ms George is expected to outline her strategy to turn around AMP’s fortunes at an investor briefing later this month. Equity analysts have spoken of “growing expectations” about the briefing, eager to hear how Ms George might continue or diverge from Mr De Ferrari’s hardline stance on financial advisers and focus on tech-based advice services.

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