Australian financial services giant AMP suffered a 97 per cent reversal of fortune over 2018, driven by a weaker performance in its superannuation and investments division and by fallout from the Hayne royal commission into the banking sector.

Sydney-based AMP said its profit from ordinary activities in the 12 months ended December 31 slumped to just A$28 million ($29.1m), from A$848m in 2017.

The superannuation and investments division suffered cash outflows of almost A$4 billion in 2018 as the commission took its toll - compared with A$931 million of net cash inflows the previous year.

ASX-listed AMP, which said it had shelved its New Zealand initial public offer (IPO) plans, said it had been a challenging year.


"Our core businesses have delivered resilient results, with continued growth in AMP Capital and AMP Bank offsetting the headwinds faced in Australian wealth management," chief executive Francesco De Ferrari said.

"The Royal Commission has been a confronting but valuable experience for the financial services industry and has served as a catalyst for change at AMP," he said in a statement.

De Ferrari said the sale of AMP's wealth protection and mature businesses to Resolution Life was also a key milestone for the company, exiting the business on which AMP was founded.

"This is a significant shift but a necessary one given the volatility and capital intensity of these businesses," he said.

In New Zealand AMP has been focusing on the separation of AMP Life and New Zealand wealth management, which will include the repatriation of significant information technology and support services.

"The separation will establish AMP New Zealand's wealth management business as a standalone business unit with a mandate to accelerate business growth," Blair Vernon, AMP New Zealand's managing director, said.

"Given the focus on separation, AMP has deferred IPO consideration until separation completion," he said.

"We are also focused on continuing to support advisers to respond to the unprecedented period of change occurring in our industry, which reflects our unwavering belief that the provision of sustainable access to advice is critical for all New Zealanders and their long-term financial wellbeing.

"At the same time, we continue to promote and support appropriate and transparent practices across our industry and seek to maintain our leadership position in terms of advice and conduct standards," he said.

AMP said that it expects to receive its individual report from the Financial Markets Authority and Reserve Bank as part of its review of the sector, after which it would "address any further actions to continue to protect the interests of our customers".

Meanwhile, AMP New Zealand's wealth management business reported operating earnings for 2018 of $57 million, broadly unchanged from the previous year.

Operating earnings were offset by lower wealth management income resulting from a decline in assets under management (AUM) margin.

AUM fell by 3 per cent to $11.6 billion, largely reflecting unfavourable investment market conditions.

AMP's KiwiSaver Scheme continued to grow with $5.1b in funds under management, a slight increase from 2017.

The New Zealand wealth protection and "mature" unit reported a 45 per cent decline in earnings to A$39 million, driven "experence" losses, a one-off reinsurance capitalised loss, and a higher number of wealth protection claims.

The "mature" business refers to older legacy/annuity type products that have been closed to new customers, such as whole of life endowment products.

Dual-listed AMP share last traded on the NZX at $2.32, down 20c, or 8 per cent from Wednesday's close. The stock has lost almost 60 per cent in value over the last 12 months.