AMP projects optimistic growth

Financial services heavyweight AMP has reported a turnaround in first-quarter cash flows, and said it was "time to blow the whistle on further changes to superannuation" after a political row over the taxation of super.

Financial services heavyweight AMP has reported a turnaround in first-quarter cash flows, and said it was "time to blow the whistle on further changes to superannuation" after a political row over the taxation of super.

In an address to shareholders at its annual general meeting, chairman Peter Mason said investors had "cause for optimism as 2012 progressed, and markets have generally been favourable since the beginning of the year".

But he said the combination of tech-savvy and value-conscious customers, an ageing Western world and the rise of the developed world, and ongoing regulatory changes indicated "there must be significant change in both the services provided by AMP and the way in which those services are provided by AMP and by financial advisers".

Mr Mason said that 2012 "ended up being a better year than many had expected", with a European economic crisis seemingly averted and the US looking more positive.

"In Australia, a slowdown in mining investment is causing concern, as this is not being counterbalanced by increased investment in other sectors," he said. "But our exchange rate, having reached its highest level against the trade-weighted basket in almost 30 years, inhibits exports."

AMP, which provides life insurance, superannuation, pensions and other financial services, has pinpointed three areas for growth: a "customer-focused" Australian business, self-managed super funds, and offshore expansion through its investment management business.

For the first quarter to March 31, 2013, it reported net cash flows for its flagship financial services arm of $95 million, a $387 million turnaround on the previous corresponding period.

Total Australian assets under management were $89.9 billion, up 4.8 per cent on the previous quarter.

Shares in AMP closed down 6ยข to $5.50 on Thursday. Its shares are up 14 per cent in the year to date, valuing the company at $16.2 billion.

Managing director Craig Dunn also told shareholders both sides of politics needed to stop changing the rules on superannuation.

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