Bank

Finweek English Edition - - COMPANIES & INVESTMENTS - Marc Ash­ton

What would you do if your bank in­sisted that you move from a su­pe­rior ser­vice provider to their in­fe­rior plat­form, sim­ply be­cause you were an em­ployee?

This is a ques­tion that has been front of mind for an em­ployee at Ned­bank who was re­cently told he could elect to ei­ther trans­fer his ac­count to Ned­bank and trade of his own free will or he could keep his Stan­dard Bank On­line Share Trad­ing (OST) ac­count pro­vided he signed a man­date to say that Stan­dard would man­age his ac­count for him.

Ned­bank are try­ing to en­force this through the PATP (per­sonal ac­count trad­ing pol­icy) and are threat­en­ing staff with dis­ci­plinary ac­tion should they not com­ply. Staff were given a pe­riod of grace to com- ply, but this has now ex­pired.

A Ned­bank in­sider told Fin­week : “I un­der­stand the risk of hav­ing an em­ployee trad­ing through a sys­tem out­side the bank’s con­trol. This could be an av­enue for in­sider trad­ing and they would all see the trades and get the monthly state­ment so any im­pro­pri­ety on my part would be in­stantly high­lighted so I don’t un­der­stand their at­ti­tude.”

Ned­bank spokesper­son Sizwekazi Jekwa ini­tially told Fin­week that in her ex­pe­ri­ence Ned­bank does not gen­er­ally force or com­pel staff to sub­scribe to Ned­bank prod­ucts.

How­ever, when asked about the PATP, she re­sponded say­ing: “I can con­firm that Ned­bank does in­deed have a Per­sonal Ac­count­ing Trad­ing Pol­icy that com­pels em­ploy­ees to have their trad­ing ac­count with Ned­bank. All banks have a sim­i­lar pol­icy around trad­ing ac­counts to pro­tect against in­sider-trader risks. The pol­icy would even ap­ply to ev­ery mem­ber of staff, in­clud­ing [CEO] Mike Brown.”

She says that this wouldn’t come from the hu­man re­sources de­part­ment but rather it’s de­cided by the group risk and com­pli­ance teams. “All em­ploy­ees who trade shares are re­quired to have a Ned­bank On­line Trad­ing ac­count so that the bank can track all trans­ac­tions if an in­sider is­sue emerges.”Jekwa added: “The non-ex­ec­u­tive direc­tors are ex­cluded from com­pli­ance with PATP es­pe­cially as t heir deal­ings in shares are gov­erned by very strict reg­u­la­tory re­quire­ments im­posed on direc­tors in terms of JSE list­ing re­quire­ments.”

This seems to be a bit of a con­tra­dic­tory state­ment say­ing that em­ploy­ees may be ex­posed to in­sider in­for­ma­tion but the non-ex­ec­u­tive direc­tors aren’t.

Ned­bank and t he South African Re­serve Bank (Sarb) say that this pol­icy ex­tends to “con­nected” peo­ple, which in­cludes spouses, fam­ily mem­bers, pen­sion funds and trusts where the Ned­bank em­ployee may be a ben­e­fi­ciary.

While Fin­week ap­pre­ci­ates the sen­ti­ment, it sounds more like a way to com­pel 28 000 em­ploy­ees and ex­tended fam­ily to use a Ned­bank plat­form rather than man­age­ment of risk.

CONT. ON PAGE 32 »

Ned­bank Head Of­fice,

Sand­ton

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