The Bankseta?s International Exchange Programme was launched at the Toronto Stock Exchange on 26 September 2005. Guest speakers included the mayor of Toronto, David Miller, and senior executives from the Bank of Montreal and the Toronto Dominion Bank.
"The project has been designed to support the Financial Services Charter. Twelve historically disadvantaged individuals (hdis), who currently hold senior positions in banks in South Africa, and who are well positioned to be promoted into very senior positions within a two year time frame, are participating in the programme,' says Bankseta General Secretary, Richard Plant.
A lengthy selection process was followed. "We put candidates through an assessment battery to confirm that they were at the right level, promotable within the time frames, and also able to cope with an action learning programme of this magnitude,' Plant explains.
The University of KwaZulu-Natal provided the action learning component in South Africa. "Having completed this, candidates will spend six weeks in Canada. They will spend some time at the Rotman School of Management, before moving to the Bank of Montreal?s Leadership Development Centre. This will be followed by a stint at Schulich School of Business,' Plant reveals.
Candidates will also spend time at various Canadian banks. Four candidates will be placed at the Bank of Montreal, four at Toronto Dominion Bank, and the balance will spend time "roaming' between different banks. Candidates will work on a series of projects, which they will present to the Canadian Bankers Association and the academic institutions that they have worked with. On their return, they will present to the South African Bankers Association.
Plant says feedback from the Canadians has been very positive. "The Canadians have been very impressed by the calibre of participants. They are seen to be very well educated and very competent,' he informs.
He says the Canadians are taking a long term view. Recognising that participants are potentially future CEOs of banks in South Africa, they are very eager to "get to know them now'.
Feedback from the candidates has also been positive and many candidates are now seeing themselves in a new role. "Although they are all future leaders, some of them had never seen themselves in that role previously,' Plant reveals.
Bankseta has allocated R4m in funding to the project.