‘Congratulations!’ AMP mistakenly tells 137,000 Kiwis it’s giving them $100 each | #emailsecurity | #phishing | #ransomware


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The KiwiSaver provider says sorry for a mistake that could have been very, very costly …

AMP has apologised after wrongly emailing 137,000 KiwiSaver members to tell them it had contributed $100 to their accounts.

The email was subject-lined “Congratulations! You’ve got an AMP refer a friend update.”

It said the company had “just popped $100 into your KiwiSaver account”, which would show up as a voluntary contribution.

Three hours later on Wednesday evening, it sent out a follow-up email: “We emailed you by mistake. Apologies.”

Given the scale of the mistake, sucking up the error and paying out really wasn’t an option. That remedy would have cost the company $13,691,100.

So instead, it retracted the offer. The company says the big mail-out was human error, and as a result, the company was working to toughen up its approach to email security.

The company should be very motivated to engage with its clients at present. This year it lost its status as one of nine default KiwiSaver funds, and the change takes effect on December 1.

So any KiwiSaver fund members that are with AMP by default, rather than having actively chosen the company’s fund, will be transferred to one of the six new default funds next week. The six funds are BNZ, Booster, Westpac BT Funds Management, Kiwi Wealth, Simplicity and NZX Smartshares.

“Prior to an apology and clarification email being sent a short time later we received a small number of client enquiries, with clients accepting of the genuine human error and being reassured that their KiwiSaver account and data remain secure.”
– AMP Wealth spokesperson

The companies that have lost their default provider status – AMP, ANZ, ASB, Fisher Funds and Mercer – have been told by regulators that they should have wrapped up any attempts to activate default members by the end of September. It’s not yet clear whether this email was a bungled attempt to retain members, but the five providers shouldn’t still be attempting to engage members right up to November 30.

An AMP Wealth Management spokesperson said about half the company’s 200,000-plus KiwiSaver clients had received the $100 email in error, and about half of those opened it.

“Prior to an apology and clarification email being sent a short time later we received a small number of client enquiries, with clients accepting of the genuine human error and being reassured that their KiwiSaver account and data remain secure.”

Asked if this was a botched attempt to engage customers ahead of next week’s cut-off, he said: “We provide regular digital communications to clients throughout the year to deliver help and guidance to make the most of their KiwiSaver. This is just one of the regular promotions we run to engage clients on their retirement savings.”

“We are further strengthening our email system management approach.”

Though AMP was neither confirming nor denying the email was intended for default customers, the suggestion in the subject line that the $100 was a reward for referring a friend would tend to indicate otherwise.

The company has 65,000 clients placed with its funds by default, representing 5 percent of AMP’s total assets under management and 2 percent of total revenue.

“We continue to invest extensively in the ongoing strengthening of our offer to clients and focus on supporting them to achieve a great retirement,” the spokesperson said. “This is underpinned by the renovation of our AMP KiwiSaver Scheme through the appointment of BlackRock as our key investment partner earlier this year.”

Newsroom asked the regulator, the Financial Markets Authority, if it was seeking to clarify the circumstances of the email. A spokesperson replied that the authority did not generally comment about its interactions with individual providers.

He confirmed the authority’s guidance: “We have said to KiwiSaver default providers that we expect all activities or campaigns designed to activate or switch default members to cease from the end of September,” the spokesperson said. “Default members can make their own decision at any time.”





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