AMP First-Half Profit Climbs 6% as Craig Meller Named CEO

AMP Ltd. (AMP), Australia’s largest life insurer and pension manager, said first-half profit rose 6 percent on higher wealth management earnings and named the head of its biggest arm Craig Meller as chief executive officer.

Meller, 50, takes over on Jan. 1, replacing Craig Dunn, 49, who retires after six years as CEO and 13 years in the company. Net income rose to A$393 million ($359 million) in the six months to June 30 from a restated A$373 million in the year earlier period, the Sydney-based company said in a statement today. That compares with the A$322 million median estimate of five analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News.

Underlying profit, which removes merger-related costs and some of the influence of market volatility, fell 10 percent to A$440 million. Rising insurance policy lapses led AMP to warn on June 24 underlying profit might drop to A$415 million to A$435 million. Such lapses had climbed to their highest level in a decade, it said in February.

“Improving the performance of the insurance business is an area of critical focus as we introduce a series of actions to improve both customer retention and the management of claims,” Dunn said in the statement today.

AMP, which is the worst performing stock in the S&P/ASX200 financial sector index, has dropped 5.6 percent this year compared to a 11 percent gain for the index.

To contact the reporter on this story: Narayanan Somasundaram in Sydney at nsomasundara@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chitra Somayaji at csomayaji@bloomberg.net

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