SVBLA suspends proxy voting
August 16, 2013

SVBLA suspends proxy voting

The rules of the St Vincent Building and Loan Association (SVBLA) have not been suspended in their entirety, but temporary revisions have been made to some of the rules, as a matter of necessity.{{more}}

Included among those rules temporarily revised is one which had allowed members not present at an annual general meeting to permit others to vote on their behalf, by proxy. That rule, which many feel has been abused over the years, has been suspended.

Executive director of the Financial Services Authority (FSA) Sharda Bollers told SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday that the suspension of the proxy vote has received “very strong support” from the membership of the building society.

Bollers said although the rules have not been suspended in their entirety, all of the rules are in the process of being fully revised and will be placed before the membership for their consideration for adoption.

Nominations to sit on the Board of the SVBLA closed on Wednesday, and elections will be held at the annual general meeting on August 29.

The new eligibility requirements stated by the FSA in a booklet outlining the election process have caused concern among some members, but Bollers told SEARCHLIGHT the eligibility criteria as laid out are reflective of internationally accepted industry standards of fit and proper persons serving on the Boards of financial institutions.

In the particular instance of the SVBLA, the severe deficiencies in the corporate governance structure and processes necessitate a Board with demonstrated competence and integrity, Bollers said.

According to a booklet published by the FSA outlining the process for the August 29 elections, to be nominated as a candidate for the Board, one must have been a member of the SVBLA for a minimum of two years (since August 2011); must own Permanent Shares or Ordinary Shares with no arrears payments of more than two months; if a borrower of the SVBLA (any type of loans), his/her loan/s must be current (no arrears); must provide his/her written consent to be nominated as a member of the Board of Directors of the SVBLA; candidates must be Vincentian nationals effectively residing in SVG.

Candidates must be a graduated or licensed professional in areas relevant to Finance and/or Management, including Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Attorney, Financial Expert, Chartered Surveyor, Real Estate Agent, or similar; OR be a businessman (owner or management capacity); or be an Academic at College, with relevant expertise relating to business, banking, accounting, finance or similar.

Bollers told SEARCHLIGHT that prospective board members can have requisite/desirable qualifications OR relevant experience. Thus a Board member will be accepted with no formal qualifications, if he/she is an owner or manager of a business.

“The objective of the Revised Rules is to have both integrity and competence captured as attributes for Board members. Competence is illustrated by qualifications and experience or experience alone, and integrity is illustrated by a clean police record and background. All of the foregoing were clarified at the Town Hall meeting of July 29, 2013,” Bollers said.

The FSA, regulators of all non-bank financial institutions in SVG, recently indicated their willingness to relinquish full control of the SVBLA back to its members since taking over the institution on February 1, 2013.