Australia's AMP trading halted after talk of CEO exit in local media

March 25 (Reuters) - Trading in shares in Australian wealth manager AMP Ltd was halted for more than 20 minutes before the markets closed on Thursday as they slid following a column in local newspaper that said Chief Executive Francesco De Ferrari will resign.

"De Ferrari will resign from the company today. His departure has been negotiated with the board of directors," a column in the Australian Financial Review said here.

AMP declined to comment to Reuters and De Ferrari was not immediately reachable. The company’s shares were last down 3.6%, underperforming a broader market that closed 0.2% higher.

De Ferrari took on the top job in December 2018 after a banking royal commission revealed widespread misconduct by AMP, including charging customers for services it did not provide and misleading regulators.

AMP shares have lost more than 40% of their value since he started his role as clients continue to pull their funds amid more scandals.

More recently, Ares Management pulled a A$6.36 billion takeover offer for AMP, instead choosing to buy 60% of the private markets business of its asset management arm. (Reporting by Nikhil Kurian Nainan in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)