N.Y. Beckons Black South Africans

Five banks and a securities firm that want to keep their position as underwriters of New York City securities are launching a management training program for black South African businessmen.

Chase Manhattan Bank, Chemical Bank, Citibank, J.P. Morgan & Co., Manufacturers Hanover Trust Co., and First Boston Corp. will provide funding and training slots for the Professional Development Program, an initiative that officials of the participating companies devised with Mayor David N. Dinkins and other city officials.

The companies have ties to South Africa either through loans or corporate affiliates in the nation. New York City officials have said that banks eager to do business with the city must either break their South African ties or work to build opportunity for the roughly 30 million black South Africans.

The one-year program will place about 20 mid-level and upper-level South African managers in positions at the New York-based banks. South African firms will select the managers, cover their travel expenses, and continue to pay their salaries, pension, and health benefits.

Further Participation Possible

Two other companies are considering signing up for the program, but are waiting until internal finance matters have been dealt with, said Ronald T. Gault, a managing director with First Boston's public finance department and chairman of the program's steering committee.

New York City tightened sanctions last year that bar it from signing contracts with companies that retain ties to South Africa. But underwriters were exempted from the sanction because their services are considered too important to city finances.

Chemical, Manufacturers Hanover, J.P. Morgan, and First Boston - a unit of Credit Suisse - are members of the city's general-obligation bond underwriting syndicate.

"It was that challenge by the mayor of New York that was the genesis for this program," Mr. Gault said.

|A Pragmatic Approach'

"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."

Commercial banks in the program were inspired to join partly because of a scoring matrix devised by city finance commissioner Carol O'Cleireacain that awards points for socially responsible banks, Mr. Gault said.

The six banks on the steering committee have 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.

The banks aim to introduce participants to international banking and finance and give them contacts in the world's financial capital. Participating firms are expected to tailor their programs to an individual's skills, experience, and needs, Mr. Gault said.

Spring Beginning Scheduled

The first six-month program is slated to start next spring with eight to 10 South Africans. The limited number of people will give the committee an "opportunity to fine-tune this process," Mr. Gault said. The second leg, with 10 to 12 participants, is set for January 1993.

South African firms that have agreed to participate in the program include First National Bank, the Program Development Bank of South Africa, National Sorghum Breweries, and the Premier Group Ltd.

Joyce Brown, vice chancellor for urban affairs and development for the City University of New York, will administer the placement program.

The announcement about the program coincided with a speech last Tuesday at the United Nations General Assembly by Nelson Mandela, president of the opposition African National Congress.

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