AMP lifts profit in challening environment

Financial services firm AMP has lifted its annual profit by two per cent as it continues to benefit from its merger with AXA Asia Pacific.

AMP made a net profit of $704 million in the year to December 31, up from $688 million in the previous year.

The previous year's result included only nine months of contributions from AXA Asia Pacific, following the $4 billion merger between the two companies in April 2011.

AMP's underlying profit in the year to December, which excludes impacts from mergers and movement in investment markets, was $955 million, up from $909 million in 2011.

"The strong performance of our wealth management business reinforces the benefits of the merger with AXA, with a suite of contemporary products and services that cater for all key market segments, supported by Australia's leading financial advice network," chief executive Craig Dunn said in a statement on Thursday.

He said the business environment would remain challenging in 2013, but sentiment domestically and internationally was improving.

AMP declared a final dividend of 12.5 cents per share, franked to 65 per cent, the same as in the previous year.

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