Former AMP advisers who are suing the company over its alleged breach of Buyer of Last Resort contracts say the firm’s willingness to appeal the July decision shows its current management led by CEO Alexis George is a continuation of previous regimes.

On Wednesday, AMP announced it would appeal the BOLR ruling which was found in favour of AMP planners and that both parties have agreed to engage in mediation which will take place in November 2023.

David Haseldine, a former AMP adviser and class action plaintiff, says the current leadership could’ve separated itself from previous AMP management teams by accepting the court ruling.

“The two managements are nothing alike… the current management could’ve said what happened was wrong, we agree with that and we’ll make it right and AMP keeps some integrity,” Haseldine tells Professional Planner.

Anticipating a changing marketing environment post-Hayne royal commission, AMP (under former group CEO Francesco De Ferrari and domestic CEO Alex Wade) sought to change the terms of BOLR agreements from 4x recurring revenue to 2.5x with further reductions for grandfathered commissions, which led to the class action being filed in July 2020.

In a public statement, AMP group executive for advice CEO Matt Lawler emphasised the firm’s interest in pursuing an outcome through mediation.

“While we believe we have grounds on which to appeal, we also recognise the ongoing impact the proceedings are having on practices, with whom we’ve worked hard to rebuild strong and trusted relationships,” Lawler said.

“We value these relationships and that’s why we are fully committed to the upcoming mediation process in November 2023, with the aim of reaching agreement on an outcome that allows us to put this behind us.”

However, planners are yet to be convinced with another former AMP adviser in the class action, Boris Gulshanov, agreeing the decision to pursue an appeal makes no sense to him as the current management are now as culpable in the “horrendous plight of the advisers” as the old management.

“The new management had an opportunity to clean their hands of the whole matter and blame everything on the old management,” Gulshanov says.

“The fact that they did not and chose to instead participate in the same exercise means to me that it is a life-or-death scenario for AMP.”

Haseldine says he was prepared to give the current management the benefit of the doubt until the decision to appeal was made.

“Now the current management is as bad as the previous management, from my perspective,” Haseldine says.

“From a business point of view, I understand what they’ve done [it], from a moral point of view it puts them in the same bad light as the previous management who perpetrated it in the first place.”