AMP chief eyes Asian markets
AMP chief executive Craig Dunn says the wealth manager is better placed than ever to tackle the structural challenges facing the retirement savings industry, with integration efforts from last year's $4 billion buyout of AXA Asia Pacific nearing completion.
AMP chief executive Craig Dunn says the wealth manager is better placed than ever to tackle the structural challenges facing the retirement savings industry, with integration efforts from last year's $4 billion buyout of AXA Asia Pacific nearing completion.Mr Dunn also suggested he was eyeing further expansion into selective Asian markets after gaining ground from existing investments in China and Japan. But any further move in the region would be on a long-term basis."Your approach to each (Asian) market has to be different and you have to be very patient. You can waste a lot of money if you move too quickly," he told BusinessDay.Mr Dunn was speaking as AMP delivered a 7 per cent increase in first-half underlying profit to $491 million. The result came in slightly better than expected and was helped by tight cost control.AMP rallied more than 4 per cent to a five-month closing high of $4.36 as the result eased a slew of investor concerns about Australia's biggest superannuation manager.Since the financial crisis, superannuation managers such as AMP have been grappling with households turning their back on volatile stock markets and putting more savings into lower-risk areas such as bank deposits and bonds.The combination of the AXA businesses was a major contributor to the profit lift, delivering higher fee income and greater cost savings."There is no doubt in my mind that the merger means the new AMP, or combined business, is much more competitive and a much stronger business, it can grow more quickly and deliver real value to shareholders," Mr Dunn said yesterday.But with surplus capital, and the integration of AXA running six months ahead of schedule, the wealth manager was now looking to tap faster-growing areas of the retirement savings industry, such as self-managed superannuation."Clearly the GFC has had a very significant impact on markets. I think the biggest change is on how consumers are changing their preferences they're more cautious than they once were and they're looking for greater value and they're more selective."Despite the profit lift, AMP opted to cut the first-half dividend by 1.5? to 12.5? a share to build a larger capital buffer.Even with the broader downturn in superannuation savings, Mr Dunn said he was still comfortable with the $2 billion of goodwill related to last year's AXA acquisition. "Since the get-go of the merger, we've continue to meet or exceed our targets."