ASIC has struck a major blow in its court battle with AMP over the wealth manager's fee-for-no-service issues.
The corporate regulator was handed internal file notes from law firm Clayton Utz last week, which relate to the firm's interviews with current and former AMP employees over its now-infamous 2017 report into fees-for-no-service at the wealth manager.
In October last year, ASIC issued AMP with a compulsory notice to produce the notes as part of the ongoing investigation into AMP's fees-for-no-service issues and "related false or misleading statements to ASIC."
Originally the wealth manager refused to hand the documents over, claiming legal professional privilege. As such, ASIC launched Federal Court proceedings in December seeking to compel Clayton Utz to produce the notes.
Clayton Utz delivered the notes to ASIC on Thursday last week (March 7) - the day the firm and AMP were due to file their evidence in ASIC's Federal Court action. As such, AMP has agreed to pay the corporate regulator's costs, with the proceedings dismissed by consent on Friday.
ASIC deputy chair Daniel Crennan said ASIC was determined to take enforcement action against Australia's large financial institutions, and would use all legal powers at its disposal to do so. He also expressed disappointment in AMP not handing over the documents earlier.
"Entities should take seriously their obligations under statutory notices issued by ASIC, including producing documents in accordance with the specified timeframe and not preventing the disclosure of documents to ASIC by making inappropriate LPP claims," Crennan said.
"These interruptions delay and frustrate ASIC's proper investigation.
"ASIC is pleased that the documents have now been produced but is disappointed that the matter was not resolved sooner."
The Clayton Utz report was a significant thorn in the side of AMP in 2018. The Royal Commission heard in April that the name of then-outgoing chief executive Craig Meller had been removed from a draft version of the report by Clayton Utz. Three days later, Meller stepped down as AMP chief.