The Royal Commission revealed today that AMP's law firm, Clayton Utz, removed outgoing chief executive Craig Meller's name from a draft of a critical report about the business.
Senior Counsel Assisting Michael Hodge referred to the Clayon Utz report prepared about misconduct in the advice business. He took AMP advice head Anthony Regan to task about a conference call on 21 December 2017 in which Regan, Meller, AMP dispute resolution general counsel Larissa Baker Cook and Clayton Utz national practice group leader of commercial litigation Nicholas Mavrakis took part.
Regan said he "didn't remember a great deal about the call," but he did recall a discussion about Meller's name appearing in the report.
"I think Craig made a comment in the report that he had a personal conflict in relation to the report because he was one of the people interviewed as part of the investigation...I can't recall what was said and [whether] it was asked whether it was appropriate to include all of those people," Regan said.
When pushed as to whether Meller asked his name to be removed, Regan reiterated: "No, he asked a question as to whether or not it was necessary for all of those people, of which he was one, to be included in the report."
"Do you recall him raising an issue about addressing individuals' culpability?" Hodge asked.
Regan said no.
Hodge noted that in another draft of the report, issued three days after the conference call, Meller's was the only name to be "struck through."
Asked why this was the case, Regan then said it was because if Meller's name wasn't included, it would "only be on the basis that he would be separately advised as to the findings" and that it would be separately referred to the board.
Hodge questioned whether Regan had considered it "ordinary" that the supposedly independent Clayton Utz report would necessitate regular exchanging of drafts and comments with AMP.
Regain said: "It evolved into that. The review was being conducted by Clayton Utz and the fact that they were engaging with the business was consistent with their instructions."
Meller announced his intention to retire from AMP in March.
This story was updated at 5.26pm.