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News: AMP UPDATE 1-Australia's AMP expects profit to halve in virus-hit first half

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    (Adds forecasts for units, background on restructuring plan)

    July 31 (Reuters) - AMP Ltd (AMP) , Australia's top wealth manager, said on Friday it expects underlying profit to more than halve in the first half as the coronavirus pandemic unsettled markets, prompting it to book a loan-loss provision at its banking unit.

    It also expects a 38% drop in operating earnings at its retained businesses in the first half, with A$4.4 billion ($3.16 billion) in net outflows from its Australian wealth arm after the government eased rules on withdrawals from pension funds due to the pandemic.

    The Sydney-based company expects underlying profit from its retained businesses of A$140 million to A$150 million. It reported an underlying profit of A$309 million a year earlier.

    About A$25 million will be set aside by AMP Bank to cover potential credit losses, while performance and transaction fees at investment arm AMP Capital are expected to be 40% lower.

    The announcement comes amid a revamp by Chief Executive Officer Francesco De Ferrari following a bruising public inquiry into the finance sector that found widespread misconduct at AMP, including improperly charging fees and attempting to deceive regulators.

    AMP will update the market on its restructuring changes and provide a new plan for AMP Capital on Aug. 13, when the company will announce its half-year results. ($1 = 1.3916 Australian dollars)

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