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AMP forges new path by appointing climate denier as chairman

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david murray
On Friday 4 May, AMP announced the appointment of climate change-denying former Commonwealth Bank CEO and Future Fund Chairman David Murray as its new chairman, ahead of the company’s annual general meeting in Melbourne on Thursday.

Murray’s appointment is in response to the loss of AMP’s Chairman, CEO and Company Secretary, who left in the wake of scandals that have emerged from the Royal Commission into the financial sector.

If AMP’s Board is after forward-thinking leadership to tackle the challenges ahead for the financial sector, Murray’s views on climate change and even climate scientists give a clear indication mean we can abandon hope from day one about how the company will handle climate risk.

In an October 2013 interview on the ABC Latelineprogram, Murray said “the climate problem is severely was overstated” and, when asked what it would take to convince him of the science, he replied: “when I see some evidence of integrity among the scientists themselves”.

This was condemned by the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Association, who labelled the remarks a ‘serious slur’.

In June 2011, Murray said in an Australian Financial Reviewinterview: “There is no correlation between warming and carbon dioxide”.

In March 2012 he referred to the carbon tax introduced under the Gillard Governmentas “the worst piece of economic reform I have ever seen in my life in Australia”.

The importance and imperative of climate risk management

Whilst some may argue climate is not high on AMPs list of priorities, in fact investors and regulators have become increasingly concerned in recent years that companies disclose and manage the risks to their business as a result of climate change.

This is particularly the case for companies operating in sectors that the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) considers high risk, and especially financial services companies.

In September 2015, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney cited evidence of the increasing financial impact of extreme weather events on the insurance sector at Lloyds of London.

He stated – “the challenges currently posed by climate change pale in significance compared with what might come”, and that “once climate change becomes a defining issue for financial stability, it may already be too late”.

In February 2017, APRA Executive Board Member Geoff Summerhayes told the Insurance Council of Australia “Some climate risks are distinctly ‘financial’ in nature.

Many of these risks are foreseeable, material and actionable now. Climate risks also have potential system-wide implications that APRA and other regulators here and abroad are paying much closer attention to.”

This sentiment was escalated in November 2017, as Summerhayes warned climate change would jeopardise the stability of banks and insurance companies and if financial institutions fail to disclose climate risks they may face regulation.

There is also a strong legal argument that financial risk be considered by directors and trustees.

In October 2016, Noel Hutley SC issued a legal opinionthat Directors were legally obliged to consider climate change risks. The following June this opinion was extendedto cover superannuation trustees.

From investors there are clear signs that expectations of climate risk management are growing. The TCFD itself is supported bymore than 100 companies with $11 trillion of assets.

In an update to its investor expectations for listed Australian companies in November, the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) recommendedthat companies materially exposed to climate change risk make substantive improvements in their reporting with reference to the TCFD recommendations.

Unfortunately, Murray does not even seem to acknowledge the reality of an issue that poses widespread and systemic financial risk.

For this to be the case at a financial services company, exposed to climate risk through its banking, superannuation and insurance operations, is unacceptable.

This opens AMP up to material financial risk, along with reputational risk that also contains a material component.

Board members need a range of skills, qualities and experience that enable them to serve the company and secure its future, and I’m not denying Murray’s CV in finance.

But the pool of available talent in Australia is deep enough for many suitable candidates to exit, without having to resort to one who barely attempts to veil his contempt for climate change science.

Thursday’s annual general meeting was already set to be something of a bloodbath for AMP. If the company fails to manage climate risk properly then we can expect the pain to continue a lot longer than the aftermath of the Royal Commission.  

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  • Dee Vee

    Excellent news, they finally have someone in charge with some brains who can see through propaganda!

    • There was time, long long ago, when the only people who would say something like that about whole categories of scientists were the cranks who stood on soap boxes in parks on Sunday afternoons, talking up creationism.

      We kids used to laugh at them. Not any more.

      Now they have serious looking crank sites with crank sponsors spinning up some serious looking crank pseudo science, as if they actually knew something about what they were talking about….and had actually published some decent research in reputable scientific journals that had been peer reviewed and subjected to open debate within a community of real experts who had some reason to professionally respect the writer, even if his or hers was a dissenting view.

      Creationism and climate change denial have a lot in common. And their rise in power and influence is a measure of just how damaged discourse has become over the last thirty to forty years. These days you only have to accuse people of being scammers and hoaxers often enough and the punters start to believe it.

      If you can condition the masses to buy bottled water at 4,000 times the price of tap, you can sell them anything….

      • Joe

        Chris our man Dee Dee, he a Trolli. He’s decided to poke his nose up again which he is want to do from time to time. Best just ignore the goose.

        • C Wilson

          You are clearly a Russian bot.

          • Joe

            Juuuuu Huuuuu…another Trolli. You and Dee Dee are a match made in TrolliLand

      • Alastair Leith

        Don’t forget the illuminati conspiracy underneath anything and everything. Black really is white and — shock-horror — white is hiding black in plain sight!

    • Joe

      You back again! Can’t you take a hint and just go away.

      • rob

        Seems we are stuck with the Derelict Version!

        • Joe

          …and he’s brought along a friend / stooge….C Wilson….who can’t ‘see’.

          • C Wilson

            You are a Russian bot!

    • howardpatr

      Christopher Nagle has given us a clear indication of the propganda you thrive on Dee Vee.

      • Sorry, definitely a troll; a Harry Potter style boggart who farts in our general direction and whose munitions are blanks. Ho hum….

        • C Wilson

          You are a paid Russian bot, I see.

    • Farmer Dave

      Dee Vee, I know you are a troll, but I have three questions for you: (1) what is it about the measurements of carbon dioxide’s infra-red absorption spectrum which qualify them as “propaganda”? (2) What are your qualifications in physics? (3) Are you being paid to troll here?

      • C Wilson

        Where are your “qualifications in physics?”

        • Alastair Leith

          Have you ever put hands on a mass spectrometer before, C Wilson? Like ever?

          • C Wilson

            Yes, in fact. Have you, troll?

          • Hettie

            Alastair, more relevant than his qualifications, I think, are the facts that his comment history is private, never a sign of good faith, and he is resorting to ad hominem attacks and insults, the quickest way known to lose a debate.
            Do you suppose he has any idea what a spectrophotometer even is?

        • Joe

          Luckily for you there are no qualifications in ‘Trolli Land’

          • C Wilson

            I take that to mean that you have no qualifications in physics, then. Thanks for playing, troll.

          • Hettie

            As you have nothing to contribute apart from insults and nonsense, I’ll allow an hour or two for you to read this, then block you as a total waste of time and oxygen.

          • Hettie

            And away he goes.

        • Farmer Dave

          First class Honours in Physics, University of Adelaide.

  • Tim Buckley

    Julien, strongly argued, the AMP board seems to have entirely missed their fiduciary duties, ignoring the well articulated reference set by APRA’s Geoff Summerhayes. When in a deep hole, just keep digging, says the AMP board, apparently singing from the same songbook as the Monash luddites. We can all go down together hugging our clean coal! Glad I’m not a shareholder!

    • C Wilson

      Put your money where your mouth is and sell them short. Of course, that would require you to have any money.

      • Ren Stimpy

        Too late now. Short sellers should have gone to work on AMP two months ago.

  • Hettie

    Seems that if you want something done wrong, scientifically, financially, morally, AMP is the go to company.
    Watch the shares dive again.

    • C Wilson

      Put your money where you mouth is, and sell them short. Oh, but wait! You don’t have any money.

      • Alastair Leith

        Meaning what exactly?

        • Joe

          Al, the dude is another Trolli like his mate ‘Dee Vee’ who reappears further down the page.

        • C Wilson

          Meaning that you are a typical left-wing layabout.

      • Hettie

        No I don’t, that’s true, being a pensioner.
        Nevertheless, I have invested in a solar system which is making some for me, and RCAC which is saving some for me , because blind Freddie can see that temperatures are going up at an alarming rate.
        20 years ago, I moved from Sydney to the Northern Tablelands of NSW. The first 3 winters, minimum temperatures regularly reached minus 15°C.
        Summer maximums rarely exceeded 30°C. Perhaps 31°, a couple of times a year.
        Gradually, the winter lows have become warmer.
        -12°, -11°, -9°, and last winter, minus 7.6°C.
        Summers are hotter.
        From fewer than 10 days over 30°, we now have around 14 days above 35. Hottest ever was 37.6°C in January this year.
        The Arctic ice is melting. Glaciers are disappearing.
        Photographs taken 80, 90 years ago, looked at beside photos taken recently, prove that.
        You don’t need to be a climate scientist to see the evidence before your eyes.
        However, to gather the evidence of temperatures over hundreds of thousands of years, you do need sophisticated equipment and training.
        To claim, as person without such training, that you know better than 97% of those who do, is breathtaking in its arrogance. Especially when the dissenting 3% of qualified climate scientists are known to have vested interests in, or be directly employed by the Fossil Fuel industry.
        Ask yourself, what do the other 97% have to gain?
        Villification and death threats from the Fossil Fuel lobby, yes. Hardly an incentive.
        Fame and fortune?? How many names do you know of climate scientists?? In Australia, perhaps one, who is better known for his ABC series, “Two men in a boat,” than his books or his role in the Climate Council.
        There is no ulterior motive. Climate scientists seek the truth. They seek to warn the world of this existential threat.
        So take your arrogant ignorance and your ignorant friends and piss off to the coal companies that no doubt employ you.

        • C Wilson

          Enjoy your hysterical end-of-the-world cult!

          • Hettie

            And you invest heavily in coal , oil, and associated industries. If you are so sure of your ground, put your money (assuming you have any) where your abusive mouth is. And enjoy the cracking dividends it will bring you.

          • C Wilson

            Just for you, I will make sure to put a concrete block on the accelerator of my big American truck. The least I can do is heat up the planet for you. Vrooom!

          • Joe

            Oi, Trolli or is it Charlie or is Charles or is it Charles Pluckhahn…whatever….too many aliases hiding in your little ‘private lockup’.

  • Ken Dyer

    More like back to the future. This bloke was the architect of what the current banking Royal Commission is grappling with today. Directly or indirectly, he is to blame for the loss of millions of dollars by investors because of bad financial advisors without any checks or balances.

    http://www.afr.com/brand/chanticleer/amp-will-fight-for-vertical-integration-20180506-h0zpip

    This guy is a dinosaur. Unfortunately in Australia, we keep trotting out old white men to fill positions of power, when they should have been put out to pasture years ago. It is no surprise that he wants to deny climate change.

    • C Wilson

      When did you start hating old white men?

      • Alastair Leith

        He didn’t say he hated old white men. You need to get some comprehension skills, they teach it at night school and online even.

        • C Wilson

          Yes he did. He is a stereotypical guilty white male who hates himself.

          • Alastair Leith

            “Unfortunately in Australia, we keep trotting out old white men to fill positions of power” this is a demographically demonstrable fact.

            “…when they should have been put out to pasture years ago” this is an opinion (which climate denialist might hate), but not hate.

          • Ken Dyer

            Well actually I am not. If you looked at my picture you would see that I am black, have a big pink tongue and a long tail.

          • Alastair Leith

            No actually, he really didn’t.

            “Unfortunately in Australia, we keep trotting out old white men to fill positions of power,…” ok that’s a demographic fact, can’t be argued.

            “…when they should have been put out to pasture years ago…” and that’s an opinion about about climate deniers in power, which I happen to support as they’re stealing our children’s, grandchildren and seven generations (plus) of children’s future.

            I guess it’s too much to ask for clear thinking from deniers when they can’t ever read without transcribing the words into a fictional account of what that person wrote.

    • Hettie

      I would dispute that, Ken.
      The place where they should have been put years ago, and a certain Prime Minister with them (remember HIH?), is not pasture, but Long Bay Jail.

  • Kevan Daly

    Julien, you may have noticed in the news that Murray was recruited by Mike Wilkins, ex-IAG CEO, on the board of QBE and very much a pro-AGW warrior. He would hardly have recruited Murray if he thought climate was going to be an issue for AMP in the near future.

    I doubt there will be many investors selling their AMP shares because of the appointment of David Murray.

    • Alastair Leith

      Yeah I mean what possible issue could climate be for a finance and insurance company? How silly of Julien to even suggest a connection!

      • Kevan Daly

        Not much connection. AMP isn’t a general insurer like QBE and IAG. It was briefly in general insurance via GIO but sold it to Suncorp about 20 years ago. Its life insurance division is in runoff mode. Its bank is small and into residential mortgages. That leaves “advice” and AMP Capital, which are investment vehicles, for a very weak connection to climate. In terms of CO2, AMP has been a zero net emitter since FY16.

        • Alastair Leith

          Ok, I used to get sent letters offering me insurance products i think. And they have a few bucks of my super I haven’t shifted (but will now just to jump on the band wagon!).

          Note the advice in 2014 from ASIC that all corporations may be held liable for decisions not factoring in CC (both mitigation and adaptation).

        • Alastair Leith

          I’m sceptical that that zero net emitter status translates into anything meaningful what so ever. Happy to be proved wrong, please provide evidence.

          • Kevan Daly

            “Meaningful” is like “beauty”: it’s in the eye of the beholder. All I can tell you is what AMP reports in its 2016 annual report. AMP spends about m$2.5 on projects, generally in the third world, which are supposed to reduce emissions to the extent of AMP’s scope 2 and travel emissions in Australia. AMP makes a profit of about b$1 each year. Meaningful or virtue signalling? Your call.

  • howardpatr

    Especially because I am an AMP shareholder I find this information about Murray highly disturbing. Hopefully he has made an effort to address his apparent ignorance of the science behind anthropogenic climate change. Then again perhaps he thinks the world rotates only around money?

    • Hettie

      That Midas mindset does seem to be an occupational hazard for bankers.

    • Peter Campbell

      Wilful ignorance. What arrogance to think he knows better than the considered and thoroughly examined expert opinion of every reputable scientific organisation in the world! Can he provide any reasoned account of rigorously obtained evidence that could explain how increasing the concentration of a greenhouse gas could somehow manage to not cause temperature rise? Of course he can’t.

    • C Wilson

      Ha ha! A shareholder who objects to making money.

  • Radbug

    Run away from this company. Sell into the rallies.

  • George Darroch

    If his judgement on climate change is so suspect, you have to worry about his ability to discern evidence and understand risks, and listen to experts on subjects he does not know.

    I don’t think his climate views are an immediate risk to his organisation, but they’re perhaps evidence of something that should concern the shareholders.

    • jervis121

      Climate change caused by those evil humans committing the unforgivable sin of improving their living standards (thanks to abundant fossil fuels), is an enormous hoax invented by the UN IPCC to host the largest anti-humanity SCAM ever perpetrated over the entire history of our civilization. Hopefully, other insurance companies and institutions will take a leaf out of AMP’s rational playbook and appoint similar climate ‘heretics’ to lead them in the direction away from this anti-capitalist, Socialist agenda.
      About time these humanity loathing globalists and their evil scam were loudly and publicly exposed for what they are and held accountable for the billions of dollars (TRILLIONS globally), they have already fraudulently obtained from those who can least afford it.

      • Ren Stimpy

        You’ve got to be joking? Coal fired power stations are a socialist/communist wet dream. Centralised generation, centralised state ownership and huge state funding required for them to be built, with gold-plated networks needed by monopolistic network operators (who the state has permitted to set their own prices) required to distribute the energy from their centralised location. They’re going the way of the centralised commie dinosaur and good riddance to them, comrade.

  • DJR96

    Time to move your super to – http://www.myfuturesuper.com.au

  • mrdavidjohnson

    Good for AMP

    • George Darroch

      Bad for AMP.

      • mrdavidjohnson

        Good for AMP

  • MaxG

    Well, they can finance Adani then 😀

    • Hettie

      Dog forbid.

  • John__Andrews

    Great to see that a man who can think for himself rather than kowtowing to the alarmists’ lies and distortions is now Chairman of AMP.

    The Earth is warming at a fraction of the speed the alarmists’ models claimed, even using the alarmists’ own massaged figures. That’s because they failed to calculate the feedback correctly, as Christopher Monckton and Willie Soon have shown.

    • Alastair Leith

      Why do all these deniers pop up and comment only on RE stories about other climate deniers? They never seem to be around to praise the amazing LCoE of wind and solar, or the emissions and air pollution reductions brought on by the RE revolution.

      • Hettie

        I just hope they all have big investments in fossil fuels, so that in the next few years they pay heavily for their arrogance.
        If Tony Seba is right, and history suggests he may well be right, in 10 years or less, maybe only 6, they will be bankrupt.
        Oh dear how sad.
        Never mind.

        • C Wilson

          I have done quite well with my oil stocks, poor thing!

          • Hettie

            You speak of the past.
            I speak of the future.

          • C Wilson

            You are a stereotypical crazy old woman.

          • Hettie

            I freely admit to being an old woman, those are facts, but I wonder how many of the regular contributors to the comments would endorse the rest of your opinion.

          • C Wilson

            If you’re going to be nuts, might as well be an Australian.

          • Nick Kemp

            Seeing as we are doing the name calling thing I think I’ll label you as a degenerate uneducated twat

          • Hettie

            Ah, Nick, why descend to his level? You are better than that.

          • Nick Kemp

            Sorry Hettie and everyone else. I’m afraid his ilk brings out the worst in me sometimes

          • Hettie

            That’s OK. I lose it myself from time to time. But there is a certain satisfaction to be had from behaving beautifully in the face of nastiness.
            And of finishing with a scorpion sting rather than a bludgeon.

          • Hettie

            Thank you , administration, for deleting those offensive comments.

          • john

            Would you care to comment on this then.

    • Joe

      …ah, another ‘Lord’ Monckton disciple. Please just go away and take your fellow stooges ‘Dee Vee’ and ‘C Wilson’ with you.

    • Ken Dyer

      As a recent article in the Guardian pointed out, if a trusted expert advised you to do something or else face grave consequences, I imagine you’d probably listen. If that advice was backedup by hard evidence then it should be a done deal. But in the case of global warming, some people just do not want to listen.

      https://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/webdata/ccgg/trends/co2_data_mlo.png

      Pascal’s Wager is to do with whether to believe in God or not. It says that since we can’t prove or disprove the existence of God we should wager that he
      does exist, because there’s a lot to gain if it turns out he does and
      not much lost if he doesn’t.

      Perhaps we could frame the arguments about global warming as a
      similar wager. If we wager that global warming is a serious problem and
      we need to act urgently then, in a similar way to Pascal’s Wager, there
      would be relatively little lost if it turns out not to be such a problem
      and plenty to gain if it is.

      There is an important distinction. In the case of the existence of God
      this is more than a little tricky to prove, but the science and evidence
      behind the questions on global warming appear to be rather more
      conclusive.

      So what do you do? Do you believe the likes of Monckton and Soon, or do you believe the hard evidence of global warming accumulated by thousands of respected scientists. Your choice.

      • jervis121

        The Guardian… Are you serious? Hahaha…

        • Hettie

          Wold you prefer to get your news from the Australian, perhaps? Or the Daily Telegraph?
          Interesting that your only response to a thoughtful comment is to deride a respected newspaper.

        • Ken Dyer

          If you had bothered to read the whole post, you may have realised that it was a comment about Pascalls Wager as it applies to climate change. Clearly you didn’t. You lose.

    • john

      Just on a note about one of the people you refer too this video is of some education.

  • C Wilson

    Wow, the guy denies that there is a climate? Or would it be that “Reneweconomy” is written by a pack of idiots?

    • Ken Dyer

      At least we are intelligent idiots unlike your good self.

  • Alastair Leith

    Just another health check on Australia’s corporate elite and financial services sector coming up roses.

    • Hettie

      A mental health check on their decision makers is certainly indicated.

      • C Wilson

        Make Australia Great Again!

  • C Wilson

    Does the entire cheering section here live on a commune in Perth?

  • Les Johnston

    Any critical summary of David Murray shows he is unfit for the role. Maybe the entire Board needs to be dismissed and replaced with people with critical analysis skills rather than silver spoons.