The merger of AMP and AXA, and coping with an unprecedented wave of financial services regulation and law reform, have dominated the past five years, according to AMP New Zealand managing director Jack Regan.
Regan said the merger was 95 per cent complete, and that synergies of $22.5m a year had been found - more than had been expected.
The most outwardly visible aspects of the deal included the now-completed merger of the AXA and AMP KiwiSaver schemes, as well as the AXA's multi-manager fund management approach, which involves outsourcing much of its fund management to managers expert in specific niches.
But one area that had not been merged was the life insurance offerings from the two companies.
"We don't really see that there are any significant benefits in doing it," said Regan.
There was a history of fierce competition between AXA and AMP-aligned insurance brokers, and the two groupings, though now no longer rivals, remained loyal to the insurance policies they had used for so long.
The advent of KiwiSaver had changed the mix of customers, said Regan, of which it had about 900,000. Just over two-thirds of customers were acquired through advisers, but KiwiSaver had brought a growing direct-to-the-public business, now representing 30 per cent of clients, and that trend would continue.
Yesterday, AMP Financial Services New Zealand reported a 16 per cent rise in operating earnings for the half-year to June 30 compared with the same period last year, driven in part by rises in international sharemarkets.
Fund managers like AMP get paid fees based on a percentage of funds under management, so lifts in markets improve their operating earnings. AMP's was $57 million in the half-year.
It also benefited from lifting its life insurance premiums and taking costs out of the business, including merging the AXA and AMP KiwiSaver schemes.
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