Opposition lawmakers raised questions Tuesday regarding the hiring process for newly appointed Cayman Islands Stock Exchange Chief Executive Officer Marco Archer, with some politicians opining that the legal process mandated for the appointment did not appear to have been followed.
Mr. Archer, the former finance minister of the Progressives-led 2013-2017 government, was named chief executive officer of the exchange in September, according to a press release issued by the Council of the Cayman Islands Stock Exchange.
Opposition members, including Leader of the Opposition Ezzard Miller, East End MLA Arden McLean and George Town Central MLA Kenneth Bryan, questioned whether provisions within the newly enacted Public Authorities Law had been used in Mr. Archer’s hiring, stating that it appeared certain sections of the law were ignored. Mr. Archer was Mr. Bryan’s political opponent during the 2017 general election.
“The board has not carried out their responsibilities here, it would seem to me,” Mr. Miller said, referring to the Council of the Cayman Islands Stock Exchange.
Mr. Miller asked that government’s Internal Audit Service perform a review of the hiring process.
Deputy Governor Franz Manderson said Tuesday that he would request that internal auditors do so. “The Leader of the Opposition asked me to give the [finance] committee an undertaking … that I would ask the Internal Audit [Service] to look at the appointment of the director of the Cayman Islands Stock Exchange,” Mr. Manderson said. “I gave that undertaking.”
Stock Exchange council chairman Anthony Travers said Tuesday that the board had followed all legal requirements during the hiring process. Mr. Travers said Mr. Archer was the only qualified Caymanian who applied for the position. Mr. Archer confirmed Tuesday that he was hired by the council, but declined further comment.
“The sub-committee of the board of the [stock exchange] dealt with the recruitment process in accordance with section 16(l) of the Public Authorities Law,” Mr. Travers told the Compass in an email. “The position was advertised and the Ministry of Finance fully advised of the process throughout by copy correspondence to board member Mr. Dax Basdeo, Chief Officer, Financial Services in the Ministry of Finance.
“Only one qualified Caymanian, Mr. Marco Archer … applied for the position and therefore, it was unnecessary to resort to a shortlist procedure given the requirements of section 27 of the law to favour a duly qualified Caymanian applicant demonstrating the best mix of qualifications, skills, knowledge and experience for the position.”
The matter came up during the Legislative Assembly’s Finance Committee proceedings on Tuesday, when Mr. Bryan asked if there had been any new hires made in senior positions at government statutory authorities or companies since the Public Authorities Law came into effect in June. Generally, Mr. Bryan said, it appeared the goal of the law was to “get under control the amount of monies being paid” to top employees in these authorities.
Mr. Manderson said one section of the law involving salary scales for outside agency employees was still being worked on and had not come into effect, but he said there were safeguards in place to prevent large overpayments in senior positions within the authorities and companies.
“Has that [safeguarding] process been done with any new hires since June 1?” Mr. Bryan asked.
“That’s outside my remit,” Mr. Manderson said.
Mr. Miller asked whether the responsible government chief officer had been part of the interview panel for the stock exchange job. Mr. Manderson said that employee was not part of the interview panel.
The opposition leader also noted that section 25 of the Public Authorities Law indicates where there is a vacancy in a chief executive role within an authority or company, the board responsible must inform either the minister or the official member responsible for the oversight of that entity.
The stock exchange falls under the Financial Services Ministry. When she was asked about the issue, Financial Services Minister Tara Rivers responded, “There was no formal consultation process that took place with me. I was apprised of the fact that an offer had been made, but that was the extent.”
Mr. Miller asked, “Is it the Minister of Financial Services’ evidence before this committee that no official communication came from the board to her about the hiring of the CEO [of the stock exchange]?”
“To my recollection, the answer is no,” Minister Rivers said, adding that she would review any correspondence on the matter to see if she had received such communication.
“Somebody needs to find out what went wrong,” Mr. McLean said.