Six banks and securities firms, all of which do business in and with New York City and all of which have business ties directly or indirectly to South Africa, have joined together to launch a management training program for black South African businessmen.
First Boston Corp., Chase Manhattan Bank, Chemical Bank, Citibank, J.P. Morgan & Co., and Manufacturers Hanover will provide funding and training slots for the Professional Development Program, an initiative that officials from the firms devised with Mayor David N. Dinkins and other city officials.
The one-year program will place approximately 20 mid- and upper-level black South African managers in positions with major firms in the city. South African firms will decide who takes part and cover their travel expenses, as well as continuing to pay their salaries, pension, health, and medical benefits.
Two other city firms are considering signing up but are waiting until internal finance matters have been dealth with, said Ronald T. Gault, a managing director with First Boston's public finance department and the chairman of the steering committee that originated the placement program. First Boston is one of the five rotating senior managers in the city's general obligation bond underwriting syndicate.
The program will give black candidates a chance to learn about international banking and finance while gaining experience and making contacts in the world's financial capital, said Mr. Gault, who added that he has been working on it for a year.
Each firm will tailor its program to individual candidates' skills, experience, and needs, he added, and the candidiates will take part ina series of seminars on global finance and business sponsored by the City University of New York.
All six firms on the steering committee are tied to South Africa either through loans or their corporate affiliates. For them to remain part of city delas, New York officials have urged them either to break those ties or else work to build opportunity for the roughly 30 million black South Africans.
"It was that challenge by the mayor of New York that was the genesis for this program," Mr. Gault said.
"There are plans to bring aboard other supporters," said Mr. Gault, noting that the New York City Office of Economic Development has said it would solicit support from the investment banking community.
And city Finance Commissioner Carol O'Cleireacain has been very active in urging commercial banks to become involved, he said.
"I think we have tried to take a pragmatic approach and we have recognized that the city has certain underwriting needs," said Sally Hernandez-Pinero, deputy mayor for finance and economic development. "We hoped that the firms would step forward and demonstrate a willingness to get involved in a post-apartheid South African vision."
The commercial banks in the program were partially inspired to join the program because Ms. Cleireacain is developing a scoring matrix that awards points to banks with programs deemed socially responsible, such as the placement program, Mr. Gault said. Under a new city law, commercial banks with ties to South Africa could lose city business if they do not score well.
The first six-month program is slated to start in the spring of next year and will place eight to 10 candidates. The limited number of people will give the committee an "opportunity to fine-tune this process," Mr. Gaunt said. The second leg is set for January 1993 and will take 10 to 12 candidates.
Some of the South African firms participating in the program are First National Bank, the Program Development Bank of South Africa, National Sorghum Breweries, and the Premier Group Limited.
Joyce Brown, vice chancellor for Urban Affairs and Development for the City University of New York, will administer the placement program. The university will develop the educational side of the program.
Many of the sponsors say this training program will prepare these professionals for life in South Africa once the country's apartheid system has been dismantled.
The steering committee, made up of the six firms, has raised between $500,000 and $600,000, Mr. Gault said. The Program will probably cost about $ 1 million, with some of the funding coming from the South African companies.
In a statement, Mayor Dinkins said, "I am encouraged by the level of support and commitment demonstrated by the business community through this initiative.
"The importance of this program cannot be overstated in the development of business leaders who will return to and build a strong post-apartheid South Africa," said Mayor Dinkins, who last year tightened sanctions to bar city contracts with firms tied to South Africa.
Securities firms that underwrite city bonds were exempted because city officials said their services are too important. In addition to First Boston, Chemical Bank, Manufacturers Hanover, and J.P. Morgan are members of the syndicate. Citibank and Chase also do business with the city and are subject to the stricter city sanctions law regarding city deposits in banks.
The announcement about the program was made on Tuesday, the day South Africa's Nelson Mandela, president of the opposition African National Congress, spoke at the United Nation General Assembly in favor of phasing out international sanctions against South Africa only as the political process there is definitively transformed.