The position of the Chairman of the Bank of Valletta, Mr. Roderick Chalmers is now untenable. The Bank, of which his is the most senior position, has been fined over Euro 203,000 by the Malta Financial Services Authority earlier this week. In the last 13 months the bank has been sanctioned six times. Mr. Chalmers was appointed to the position of chairman by the PN government in 2004. He has retained this position, ever since, despite the many scandals that the bank has been linked with.
In Malta, primarily in anything connected to the present government, the culture of resignations is almost non-existent. However, in the private sector such mistakes would never be overlooked. Mr. Chalmers spent a lifetime as a chartered accountant. He was elected to the International Board of a major audit firm and even served as chairman for a two-year period. It is with utmost certainty that Mr. Chalmers would not have accepted such ‘human errors’ in his previous roles in the private sector. He would surely have requested the resignation of anyone connected with any scandal that would have generated substantial losses in the company under his charge. This is not so with Mr. Chalmers’ responsibilities in the Malta government appointments he has been given.
Roderick Chalmers’ career must have been governed by a stringent code of ethics. Unfortunately, this code of ethics has not been applied to the accountability of the Bank. Whenever a response was requested by the Bank of Valletta on several issues, there was either no response or a political deflection of the relevant issue.
Under Mr. Chalmers’ chairmanship, Bank of Valletta clients lost over fifty million euro in the collapse of Lehman Brothers. While it seems that the Bank itself did not invest in funds run by Lehman Brothers Holding, BOV was promoting and selling Lehman Perpetuals to its clients, earning a sizeable percentage on each sale.
During this time the Bank also made substantial losses connected with the Middlesea Insurance business overseas. The only defence that Mr. Chalmers put up was not about the losses directly, but about the amount lost. Normally, in such cases, heads roll; but not at Bank of Valletta. The only action that Mr. Chalmers said that the Bank would be taking, would be a more active role in Middlesea. Accountability was again laid by the wayside.
In these last eight years, BOV has downsized certain foreign office operations. It has been involved with another substantial loss with GO plc and the shares of the Bank, have lost a considerable amount of value. Italian investigators’ claims, that the bank was used to siphon off large sums of money from an Italian Foundation to overseas accounts, have not received any response from BOV or its Chairman.
However, the fine imposed by the MFSA on the Bank cannot be swept under the carpet. The Bank, of which Mr. Chalmers is the Chairman, has been sanctioned six times in the last thirteen months and has been found guilty of having breached some of its’ Standard Licence Conditions. Last year Roderick Chalmers said that whilst assuming full responsibility, resignation was not on the cards. One year later, in light of the findings of the MFSA, in the wake of the heavy losses incurred by BOV clients due to the Bank’s failure to act in the best interest of investors, Roderick Chalmers, as Chairman of the Bank of Valletta must assume his responsibility and resignation is now a must. His position is untenable.