An employee at Nedbank’s financial planning division was suspended in April for allegedly having unaccredited academic qualifications, despite the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) recognising them.
Mpume Ngcobo*, a Nedbank regional manager, was suspended for two weeks in April because Nedbank alleged that her qualification – a BTech from Technikon Natal, now the Durban University of Technology – was not recognised by the FSCA.
Ngcobo was placed on suspension despite the company being the one that registered her as a key individual at the FSCA in 2017, a process that required validation of her qualifications, including a master of business leadership degree that she acquired from Unisa.
According to an executive close to the matter and who’s attached to the company’s compliance unit, Ngcobo irritated her bosses when she refused to debar a black financial planner unjustly.
The Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act lays out requirements for a person to be appointed as a representative for financial services provider (FSP).
According to Fin24, the act requires an FSP to banish or debar from the industry as a whole a representative who no longer complies strictly with its requirements.
“She refused to debar the planner without proper process being followed. The planner was eventually suspended, but won the case against Nedbank after an internal investigation found in her favour. That is very serious because if you get debarred you can’t work in the entire industry,” the source said.
Ngcobo confirmed that she was placed on special leave because her qualifications were allegedly not recognised, but she later confirmed them with the FSCA.
She declined to comment further.
The FSCA said qualifications were recognised when applications were lodged by employers.
According to the source, Nedbank, as the employer, did the application when Ngcobo was employed.
FSCA spokesperson Thobeka Jojozi said: “Qualifications are recognised based on application. This means that when an application is submitted to the FSCA to recognise a qualification, the application is reviewed against predetermined criteria. If the qualification meets the criteria then the qualification can be recognised.”
Nedbank spokesperson Kedibone Molopyane said: “Nedbank recognises all qualifications that fulfil the legal requirements for an individual to act as a representative of an FSP as determined by the FSCA. Nedbank does not discriminate against any qualification that falls within the FSCA’s criteria and any suggestion to the contrary is incorrect.”
Molopyane declined to comment on why Ngcobo was suspended and about the qualifications of some of the managers in the same unit.
“Nedbank doesn’t disclose information about employees owing to employer-employee confidentiality,” she said.
*Not the person’s real name, for fear of victimisation