In 2009 local financial institutions had been given five years to ensure that 40% of their ownership and control are local.
The Namibia Financial Sector Charter, a voluntary document, gave the financial institutions this period to make sure that 25% of the executive management must be from broad-based economic empowerment (BBEE) background, 10% of that must be BBEE women while 30% of financial institutions’ procurement spending must be channeled towards BBEE suppliers.
The BBEE in the charter’s terms, means black Africans, Basters or Coloureds, as well as Namibian citizens by birth or by naturalisation before March 21 1990. One of the main reasons behind the charter is that it was meant to address the ownership and control of the financial institutions as Namibians were believed to have been left out – especially in the banking sector.
Section nine of the charter deals with the ownership and control elements within the financial sector.
Section 9.1.3 states that the objective of the charter is to achieve substantial change in the racial and gender composition of ownership, control and management structures in skilled occupations of current and new enterprises in the financial sector.
It further states in 9.1.4 that the Namibian financial sector undertakes to increase the extent to which BBEE beneficiaries and designated groups own and manage current and new enterprises in the sector. Bank Windhoek, First National Bank of Namibia and Nedbank Namibia have all indicated that they have either met all targets volunteered to, or made significant progress in meeting the targets set out in the charter.
Bank of Namibia spokesperson Israel Zemburuka told The Patriot that the charter was of a voluntary nature and that they therefore cannot actually exercise regulatory powers if any of the banks do not comply.
He said that the Bank of Namibia is currently working on a Banking Institutions Amendment which would address the issue of ownership and control through legislature.
Nedbank Namibia claims that they have fulfilled the targets or are well on the way of meeting the set out targets in section nine of the charter.
For the target of 50% BBEE for 2019 with 1/3 being women, Nedbank’s current 10 executives comprise of 40% BBEE with one of the BBEE being a woman.
Nedbank further stated that when it comes to their board, the board of directors had 40% BBEE beneficiaries by 2014, 11% BBEE beneficiaries were women by 2014 and is expected to increase to 20% by the end of this year.
The bank further indicated that they had a 25% BBEE representation at executive level in 2014 and that this number promised to go up to 50% by the end of this year.
“NedNam Holdings is 100% owned by the Nedbank Group. The bank initiated a staff share schemes with Nedbank SA shares, from 2006.
Intending to further localise as per process in consultation with Bank of Namibia, Namibia Financial Sector Charter Council and Nedbank Group SA,” the bank said.
With regards to preferential procurement and enterprise development, the bank said that they are increasing compliance with the aim of full compliance including initiatives such as small and medium enterprise focus, Kapana drives, to name a few.
This is answering to the target that at least 20% economic interest and net equity value be held by BBEE beneficiaries.
Capricorn Group (Bank Windhoek Holdings)
Capricorn Group’s Company Secretary, Hellmut von Ludwiger, said they have BBEE beneficiaries (directly and indirectly) of more than 40% issued in shares which he says far exceeds the target set for them in the charter.
When asked whether they are complying with the ownerships target that at least 20% economic interest and equity value must be held by BBEE beneficiaries, von Ludwiger said that “the two largest BBEE shareholders of Capricorn Group are the Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF) at 26% and Nam-mic Financial Services Holdings (Pty) Ltd at 8%.”
He added that “direct and indirect BBEE shareholders of more than 6% bring the total to over 40%”.
Bank Windhoek, according to von Ludwiger, has more than 4300 shareholders, including a number of BBEE.
They however do not state how many of the BBEE representation is of the 4300.
“Many acquired their shares in June 2013 as part of the public offer before Capricorn Group was listed on the Namibian Stock Exchange.
About 98% of the shares are held by Namibians,” the company secretary said. With regards to section 9.3 of the charter that states that “enterprises in the financial sector undertake to achieve the minimum targets of control to be entrusted to BBEE beneficiaries,” such as 40% on board of directors by 2014, 11% BBEE being women and being increased to 20% in 2019, this bank said that currently the board of Capricorn Group consists of 11 directors, of which five are BBEE beneficiaries equating to 45% and two of which are female making it 18%.
He added that the Group scored 25.45 out of 26 points in the ownership and control pillar of the Namibian Financial Sector Charter.
FirstRand Namibia Limited (First National Bank)
The bank is 58.4% owned by FirstRand EMA Holdings (Pty) Ltd, 26.8% by the general public and 14.8% by GIPF. Other minority shareholdings of between 0.28 percent and 2.5 percent is held through Standard Bank Namibia, First National Bank nominees, such as several pension funds including Rossing Pension Fund and Ohlthaver and List Retirement Fund.
Other shareholdings also belongs to Chappa’ai Investment Forty Two and Sovereign Capital (Proprietary) Limited.
The bank’s spokesperson Elzita Beukes tells The Patriot that they have made significant progress over the years to transform ownership and management control.
“The Group’s Employment Equity efforts is positioned to continually nurture the talent that will effectively ensure that there is proper representation of black people at executive and management level and the current board representation is already illustrative of the efforts towards achieving this diverse representation,” she said.
With regards to board representation, Beukes said that eight of 11 (73%) board members are Namibian citizens, one is a permanent resident while two out of the 11 board members are South African nationals.
Two of the board members are women. The spokesperson added that the previously disadvantaged are represented by seven out of the 11 board members.
While the charter is a step in the right direction, those within the banking sector say that more is needed to ensure that the intentions behind the targets in the voluntary documents need to be backed up with legislature in order for them to be an obligation and not just a voluntary action.
This will allow for regulations and for those non-complying institutions to actually be held accountable with consequences.
*This is a developing story.