Shine Lawyers have filed a class action on behalf of shareholders against AMP Limited.
What is the background to the class action?
AMP Limited (ASX:AMP) is a publicly listed Australian company offering wealth management products and services. These services include financial advice which can comprise, superannuation, retirement income and managed investment advice, strategies for personal risk protection and self-managed superannuation. The firm also has its own proprietary product offering which includes investments and risk (insurance) products. The firm has been in operation in Australia since 1849 and has a market capitalization of approximately AUD13billion.
On Monday 16 April 2018, AMP’s shares opened at AUD4.79, and by market close Friday 20 April 2018, the price of the shares had dropped by 10.2% to AUD4.30. This was following admissions made by executives of AMP at the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry that the company had misled the corporate regulator ASIC up to 20 times and made the deliberate decision to charge clients for services that it in fact did not provide. The 10.2% price drop is equivalent to an approximate drop in value of the company of AUD1.25 billion.
Shine Lawyers are encouraging all investors who owned or purchased shares in the period 6 May 2013 to 13 April 2018 to register their interest in participating in the claim.
Click here to register your interest (no-cost, no obligation).
What claims will be pursued in the AMP Limited class action?
Shine Lawyers are of the view that AMP has breached a number of provisions of the Corporations Act and ASX Listing Rules.
Shine Lawyers allege that AMP Ltd failed to disclose to the market, pursuant to s 674 of the Corporations Act and ASX Listing Rule 3.1, that it made a deliberate decision in 2013 and 2015 to charge clients for services never received; its advice division made 20 separate misleading statements to ASIC about those charges and failed to disclose the receipt and effect of a PWC report on its overall operations, which was information that would have had a material effect on the price or value of its shares. AMP Ltd may have also engaged in making false or misleading statements, dishonest conduct and misleading or deceptive conduct pursuant to ss1041E, 1041G and 1041H of the Corporations Act.
AMP shareholders who acquired shares in AMP in the Relevant Period may be entitled to compensation for damages or losses caused to them by AMP’s alleged breaches of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).
For further information about this class action, see our Frequently Asked Questions below.
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Common questions about AMP Shareholder Class Action
Class actions take place in the Federal Court and several State Supreme Courts of Australia. There are three criteria that need to be fulfilled for a class action to take place:
i. There must be 7 or more people claiming;
ii. From the same, or similar, event/circumstances; and
iii. The claim must relate to at least one common issue of law or fact.
Class actions in Australia work on an opt-out model. This means that all potential claimants become group members of the action whether they intended to participate or not. These group members are bound by the judgment of the court or settlement unless they opt-out. If you are involved in a class action you will be notified.
Due to the size of each individual claim, the costs of running this action as an individual would quickly exceed the potential damages recoverable. As each group member’s claim involves many common questions of fact and law, running this action as a class reduces the average cost of litigation to a client by only addressing the common issues once at trial, instead of multiple times.
Augusta Ventures (‘Augusta’) is a third-party litigation funder that provides funds to claimants for commercial litigation claims in a number of jurisdictions. It is the largest funder by volume of claims in the United Kingdom and has funded over 140 litigation claims deploying around $70m in funds. Augusta opened an Australian office in May 2017 to better service the Australian market. Further information about Augusta can be found on their website at https://www.augustaventures.com/.
Shine Lawyers Pty Ltd was founded 42 years ago in Queensland and listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in 2013. As one of Australia’s largest litigation law firms, Shine is comprised of a hardworking, straight talking team of people who have the clout to take on Australia’s biggest cases.
The class action against AMP is being led by National Special Counsel – Class Actions, Jan Saddler and Vicky Antzoulatos, Special Counsel – NSW Class Actions. Between them Jan and Vicky have close to 50 years’ experience running large and complex multiparty legal disputes including shareholder class actions, in Australia and England. Further information on Shine Lawyers can be on their website at https://www.shine.com.au.
It costs you nothing to join the class action. Subject to some conditions, Augusta has agreed to pay the legal costs that Shine will incur, disbursements and an insurance premium, to run the class action. Shine will also be at risk for some of its legal costs. Please contact Shine at email@example.com to obtain further information about the Funding Terms and to obtain a copy of the Funding Agreement.
Our legal team are confident that the case has good prospects of success. However, litigation is inherently risky and it is not possible to predict the outcome, or how long the case will take. Of note is the fact that in Australia, no Court has ever delivered a judgment in a shareholder class action involving continuous disclosure breaches.
Group members will have no liability for legal costs if the class action is unsuccessful. Augusta has agreed to meet any adverse costs order, in the event the proceedings are unsuccessful and also meet any security for costs requirement. In that case, neither the lead applicants nor any group members will have liability for costs.
It is impossible at this stage to provide any specific figure that each group member can expect to receive. This is due to a variety of methodologies that the Court may adopt to assess shareholder losses in this case.
To be eligible to participate in the claim, you must have acquired an interest in AMP shares traded on the ASX anytime between 6 May 2013 and 13 April 2018, inclusive (“Relevant Period”).
No, as long as you acquired an interest in AMP shares during the relevant period you are likely, at this stage, to be eligible as a group member in the AMP Class Action.
Augusta will be paid a success fee and a return of the funds it has deployed, if the matter is successful. The amount Augusta receives will first need to be determined by the Court as fair and reasonable.
At this stage of the action we cannot advise on expected time frames. Due to the nature of class actions, the first stage of the proceedings can take between twelve months and three years or more from its commencement.
Unless a settlement is reached, the first stage will only resolve the representative’s claims and the common issues of the proceedings, with group member claims to be resolved individually at a second stage of the proceedings.
The AMP shareholder class action has been filed in the Federal Court of Australia, New South Wales division, Sydney.
No. The class action will be commenced on an “open” basis, which means that all persons who acquired an interest in AMP shares during the Relevant Period and otherwise fit within the group definition, are included irrespective of whether they have signed a Funding Agreement or not.
If the Court determines that the Shine/Augusta Class Action should run the Applicant will apply for a Common Fund order. A common fund order is an order made by the Court which requires all group members to contribute part of their share of a settlement or judgment to the litigation funder.
If the application is granted, a percentage of any settlement of judgment sum received by group members will be paid to Augusta for the costs incurred in recovering the funds regardless of whether a group member has signed a Funding Agreement. The Court will set a rate (which may be different to the rate in the Funding Agreement) that will apply consistently to all group members. In these circumstances, you will not be financially worse off for having signed a Funding Agreement with Augusta.
If the Court does not make a common fund order, Augusta may not continue to fund the action. The more group members who sign the Funding Agreement now, the higher the degree of certainty Augusta will have as to whether there will a sufficient number to make the class action viable should a common fund order not be made.
By signing a Funding Agreement with Augusta you are demonstrating support for the Augusta-funded proceedings over other competing proceedings. Competing proceedings may mean legal and other costs to shareholders are higher than they need to be and may complicate any settlement discussions.
Augusta requires the Funding Agreement to be signed by the registered holder of the AMP Limited shares which are subject of the claim. If you are signing the Funding Agreement on behalf of more than one entity, you need to include each of their names in a schedule attached to the Funding Agreement.
Yes, Augusta requires the approval of the Court for Shine Lawyers to conduct the shareholder class action against AMP over any other competing AMP shareholder class action(s) or in conjunction with any other competing class action. Augusta also requires Shine Lawyers to complete a detailed due diligence process so that all involved can be satisfied of the strength of the claim.
Augusta is required to have in place adequate practices and written policies for managing any conflict of interest that may arise between Augusta, the lawyers who conduct litigation funded by Augusta, and the funded claimants and others in relation to any litigation funded by Augusta. This is a requirement of the Corporations Amendment Regulation 2012 (No. 6) (the Regulations), which came into force on 12 July 2013. You can view Augusta’s Conflict Management Policy in the Funding Agreement.
AMP Limited’s ASX code is: AMP.
AMP Limited’s ISIN is: AU000000AMP6.
AMP Limited’s CUSIP: 03076C106.
Any group member who does not wish to remain as a Group Member in the action will at some point be given appropriate notice enabling them to opt out of the action. Details regarding this process will be provided to all potential group members at the relevant time.
Shine Lawyers and Augusta will only use and/or disclose your personal information strictly for the purpose of the legal proceedings, or as required by the Court or by law. In all other cases, we will seek your consent before disclosing any of your personal information.
If you are a group member only, you will only be required to provide information to Shine Lawyers or Augusta occasionally. This will mostly be limited to share trading data. It is not likely you will be required to provide a written witness statement, attend court or give evidence in court.
Please contact Shine Lawyers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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