Symmetra CEO Heather Price (Source: Youtube)

The beleaguered AMP group has appointed global inclusion and diversity consultant Symmetra to undertake an “objective” and comprehensive review of its conduct, policies, leadership, governance and behaviour in an effort to accelorate its cultural transformation.

According to a release on AMP’s corporate website, Symmetra have also been charged with delivering an “inclusive leadership program” to drive performance across all levels of the company, starting in October.

Symmetra, led by CEO Heather Price, was originally launched as a diversity consultancy in post-apartheid South Africa in 2003 before relocating to Sydney.

The appointment is the first proactive step the group has taken to redress issues in its executive culture after the exit of former chairman David Murray and demotion of former AMP Capital head Boe Pahari.

AMP has formed a number of groups aimed at tackling its well-publicised culture problems. Earlier in the year if established a Group Integrity Office to manage complaints and conduct issues as well as “embedding risk culture initiatives” within the business. An Inclusion Taskforce was also established around the time AMP conducted its infamous 1H20 results call, whereupon CEO Francesco De Ferrari batted off consecutive questions about Pahari, the Alex Wade scandal and the cultural settings of the executive team.

A Culture Working Group has also been established to work on culture, governance and strategy, which will be led by new AMP chair Debra Hazelton and supported by consultancy Oliver Wyman.

“The Board and I acknowledge the critical need to create a more diverse, inclusive and safe workplace,” Hazelton said of the Symmetra appointment. “By articulating the Board’s beliefs regarding the preferred organisational culture, we intend to provide foundational support for Francesco’s number one priority – to create a culture built on mutual trust and respect, which in turn drives high performance.”

In a statement, De Ferrari talked up the “many positive elements” of the AMP culture, but admitted the group has “significant work to do”.

“The workplace conduct review and inclusive leadership program we’ve announced today are an important investment in our people and will help us create the high performing, inclusive culture we want for the company,” the CEO said.

Tahn Sharpe is a Sydney-based financial services journalist with a background in financial planning. He writes on advice, superannuation, investment, banking and insurance issues, is a certified SMSF Adviser and holds an Advanced Diploma of Financial Planning. Contact at [email protected]
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