Carnegie, the Nordic investment bank, has been hit by fresh controversy after two members of its nomination committee resigned over the appointment of its new chairman.
The 200-year-old bank’s nomination committee on Monday approved sweeping changes to the board and the appointment of a new chairman following a damaging SKr630m ($98.6m) trading scandal.
But two members of the nomination committee said they would resign after concluding that the new chairman was not sufficiently independent.
“In Carnegie’s current situation, it is important that the chairman is independent. The chairman proposed by the nomination committee does not fulfil that requirement,” they said.
Sweden’s Financial Supervisory Agency ordered the chief executive and board of Carnegie to step down following the scandal, which involved traders inflating dealing profits between 2005 and 2007.
Following an investigation, the FSA delivered a blistering indictment of the bank’s lack of internal controls and imposed the maximum possible fine of SKr50m – the most severe in its history.
The nomination committee on Monday proposed Anders Fallman, chief executive of Icelandic investment firm Invik, as Carnegie’s new chairman, replacing Christer Zetterberg.
The scandal at Carnegie has undermined its share price and made it a possible takeover target.
One of the possible candidates for a bid is Invik, which has amassed a 9.7 per cent stake in the firm.
Mr Fallman said on Monday that the stake was a long-term investment. “It is of utmost importance that the owners in Carnegie take full responsibility for the re-establishment and strengthening of confidence for Carnegie,” he said. Owners holding more than 25 per cent of the votes and capital in Carnegie backed the proposed new board members, the committee said, but two fund management companies objected.
Robur, an influential asset manager owned by Swedbank, one of the country’s leading banks, and AP1 fund, part of the state pension system, both resigned from the committee.
Ulf Strömsten, chairman of the nomination committee, said on Monday that the new board “opens opportunities for Carnegie to take on the important challenges that lie ahead”.
The trading scandal has had political implications in Sweden, forcing Karin Forseke, the Swedish government’s special adviser on its privatisation programme, to resign.
Ms Forseke was chief executive of Carnegie for part of the time when the scandal occurred. The bank has also resigned its position as one of the government’s financial advisers on the privatisations.
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