Wednesday, 22 May 2019

ASX to look at fund managers’ claims on AMP life insurance sale

Before announcing the proposed sale, AMP had been been talking to the ASX and the ASX had advised it under the listing rules, the sale did not trigger a shareholder vote, and it stood by that position on Monday.


“The transaction is not a disposal of AMP’s main undertaking – it will remain a diversified financial services company – so listing rule 11.2, where shareholder approval is required, does not apply,” a spokesperson for the ASX said

The ASX spokesperson stressed that the decision was not under review, but said it was examining correspondence from “a couple” of fund managers and if there was a new fact that had a material bearing on the matter, it would go to AMP to seek further information.

Jeremy Leibler, a partner at Arnold Bloch Leibler, who is advising Merlon Capital Partners on how to have the sale put to a shareholder vote, said the ASX did have discretion to act.

“AMP has just come from fairly damning allegations before the royal commission, but [it] felt comfortable proceeding with a transaction where their own internal actuaries placed a value of $2 billion more than what is the proposal to sell this business for,” Mr Leibler said.

“Did AMP not think it appropriate to get an independent expert’s report and to make it available to shareholders.”

Mr Leibler said that there were other fund managers that supported a shareholder vote making it possible for the disgruntled shareholders to call an extraordinary general meeting, at which a vote could be put.

AMP reiterated to Fairfax Media it had engaged with the ASX on the application of the listing rules and that the ASX confirmed that shareholder approval was not required.

AMP chairman David Murray told ABC television last week that it would be unrealistic to put the deal to shareholders. He said shareholders appointed directors to make those decisions for them.


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