For many years, when Australians wanted investment advice or life insurance, there was one name which came to mind first.
AMP is a name that has been trusted by Australians for many of its 171 years.
But those days have long since passed. The announcement last week that the AMP board has started a review of all of its businesses and assets could spell the end of the investment and wealth management giant, both in Australia and in New Zealand.
Recently-installed chairwoman Debra Hazleton and the board will "assess all options" in a process that effectively puts the group up for sale, either in whole or in part.
AMP is unlikely to be an attractive proposition for many buyers.
It's been a poorly performing company for many years as its share price attests: shares in the company have fallen from close to A$17 in mid-1998 to A$1.63 at the end of last week.
It was named in the Banking Royal Commission two years ago for charging investors fees for services they didn't receive and for charging dead customers for life insurance.
That scandal cost it a chairman and it lost another chairman last month when David Murray resigned after AMP appointed a known sexual harasser as chief executive of its most successful division, AMP Capital.
AMP Capital, the funds management arm, is probably the most saleable of the company's different divisions. It's doing a good job of tapping into investors' appetite for infrastructure and real estate as they seek better returns than traditional bonds and equities are expected to provide.
But this leaves the troubled Australian wealth management arm and its smaller, but also underperforming, New Zealand wealth management arm.
Wealth management companies have for decades tried to provide financial advice to Australians in an affordable, compliant and scalable way. Given Australia's vast superannuation system, helping mum and dad investors navigate their financial future and plan their retirements should be a no-brainer.
But most wealth managers have struggled to make a go of it. Last week National Australia Bank became the last of the big four banks to exit wealth management, selling its MLC financial planning and superannuation arm for A$1.4 billion. NAB paid A$4.5 billion for this business 20 years ago.
The one thing working in favour of AMP's wealth management arm is that, along with IOOF, the wealth manager which las week bought MLC, there are only two large scale investment management companies left in Australia.
That leaves New Zealand. Kiwis who have relied on AMP to advise them on investments or manage their KiwiSaver dollars are no doubt wondering who might end up managing their money.
AMP's New Zealand wealth management arm could hardly be described as a big business. It manages a total of A$5.5 billion of investors' money, compared with the A$121 billion managed by its Australian arm. Like its Australian cousin it has been a poor performer. KiwiSaver funds operated by AMP, the country's fourth largest provider of the retirement savings plans, have under-performed over a 10-year period relative to their peers. These underwhelming returns occur irrespective of whether savers choose conservative or high-risk investment approaches, according to Morningstar data.
AMP Capital's New Zealand boss, Bevan Graham, and head of distribution, Greg McMaster, quit the company late last month.
And given that AMP put its New Zealand arm up for sale a year ago and failed to find a buyer, we would have to wonder if anything has since happened to make it more attractive. The answer is no.
So what does all this mean for New Zealand's AMP customers? The reality for them is that any sale of the Kiwi arm of the business will be an afterthought in a much bigger sale process. It's hard to imagine AMP would hold onto it if the Australian parts of the business were sold, especially as it has a market share of just 6.5 per cent of New Zealand retail funds under management. Odds are it will go.
For customers, that might be a good thing. If their underperforming wealth manager is to be managed by someone else, returns might improve.
And for investors in AMP, the break-up is no bad thing either. They will crystallise their investment and be able to put the proceeds into an asset with a stronger track record and a better chance of growing.
JP Morgan estimates selling off the group would yield between A$1.81 and A$1.95 a share, a nice premium for investors but little consolation for the long-term share price slide.
The worst outcome might be no sale.
AMP has just started a turnaround strategy under CEO Francesco De Ferrari and the potential sale pulls the rug from under his feet.
De Ferrari's strategy will continue as the company considers its options, which will cause a few more months of instability while staff and management wonder if it will be sold.
Bouncing back from that and trying to rejuvenate the turnaround strategy and the company itself in the event of no sale will be difficult.