AMP's startup venture fund is gone

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AMP has stopped investing in startups.

The financial services giant has axed its corporate venture fund, part of a refocus on the core business.

The five staff who ran the fund, which looked to invest $500,000 to $3.5 million in seed to early stage tech startups, are out of a job.

Among them is Alfred Lo, the head of AMP New Ventures, who came to AMP in 2015 after co-founding Singtel Innov8’s venture capital fund in Australia.

AMP’s profits are being squeezed, wealth management cash flows are down and its insurance business is reporting losses.

In October the company foreshadowed that 2017 profit margins were expected to be reduced by $90 million because of the downturn in insurance.

In August, AMP reported a 10% drop to $513 million in underlying profits for the half year, about $12 million below analyst expectations.

Among the startups funded by AMP New Ventures are fintechs Macrovue, an online brokerage, and MoneyBrilliant, a virtual financial assistant for personal wealth management.

According to the Australian Financial Review, staff were told about the decision in an email.

“Our New Ventures team won’t continue and the team’s roles have been made redundant,” wrote Paul Sainsbury, AMP group executive, wealth solution and customer.

“We have spoken to all of the team members, and will be supporting them through redeployment.”

An AMP spokesman confirmed the end of the fund.

“AMP’s New Ventures team is ceasing investments in further startups which aligns with the group’s focus on its core businesses to drive short-term performance,” the spokesman told Businessmen Insider.

“We have a strong portfolio of existing investments and our current focus is on maximising the benefits from these.”

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