Two new names emerge for BOP presidentship after SBP shoots down Talib Rizvi’s appointment

Sources claim that Hassan Raza is the new favourite for the presidentship, who had previously served as CEO Habibsons Bank UK

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Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this news item mentioned a few allegations that could not be independently verified and hence have been removed. The error is regretted.

LAHORE: Two names have emerged to fill the position of the Bank of Punjab’s (BOP) presidentship after the controversial removal of Syed Muhammad Talib Rizvi from the position of BOP President and CEO.

Talib Rizvi was appointed as BOP’s President and CEO by a notification of the government of Punjab in April, however, in a reply to the bank’s request dated April 26, 2019, for the ‘Fit and Proper Test’ (FPT) clearance, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) refused to clear Talib Rizvi for the position despite all other agency clearances and checks in place, stating his lack of ‘diversified experience’ as the core reason.

The letter read, “In this regard, your request for FPT clearance of Syed Muhammad Talib Rizvi for his proposed appointment as President/CEO of BOP has been considered. However, we regret to inform that at this point in time we are unable to clear his FPT for the position of President/CEO of BOP as he lacks diversified experience and skill set required for this position.”

Since the State Bank’s reply dated July 17, 2019, no further information has been issued by the bank regarding the future president and as to who exactly is at the helm of the bank currently. It is being suspected that Khalid Siddiq Tirmizey, Deputy Chief Executive Officer Bank of Punjab, who was earlier appointed as the Acting President on December 7, 2018, before Rizvi’s appointment and later removal from the post of president, will continue to perform the duties until a new president is appointed.

FUTURE MR PRESIDENT

Since Talib’s removal, several names have surfaced as the new replacement, however, sources have informed Profit that two names, Hassan Raza and Mustafa Hamdani, are being considered as the favourites for the bank’s top slot.

Hassan Raza is a career banker with 28 years of experience in the banking industry locally as well as overseas. He has previously served as SEVP/Group Executive Corporate Banking Group at UBL, as Group Executive/ Head Structured Credits at HBL, as Group Executive Business at Habib Metro and has also served as CEO of Habibsons Bank (a subsidiary of HBL UK).

Sources allege that State Bank’s Governor Reza Baqir is supporting Hassan Raza for the appointment as BOP president.

On the other hand, Mustafa Hamdani, who is also a career banker, with less experience as a Group Head of a bank as compared to both Talib Rizvi and Hassan Raza, is being reported as the favourite of the current BOP Deputy CEO Khalid Tirimzey.

However, the whole process is being kept hush and out of the spotlight.

Profit approached BOP Chairman Dr Pervez Tahir for a comment, however, after almost 3 days, he is yet to reply.

CONTROVERSY SURROUNDING TALIB’S APPOINTMENT

Earlier in April, Talib Rizvi was appointed as a replacement for acting president Khalid Siddiq Tirmizey after the departure of former President and CEO Naeemuddin Khan, who was entangled in political controversy. It was announced that Rizvi’s appointment was made in line with the new challenges and targets for the bank since the bank’s financial outlook remains stable with no major losses. Yet some even tagged him as a favourite of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government.

Nonetheless, just a few months after taking the helm of the provincial bank, he was asked to step down due to SBP’s refusal for FPT clearance. It was earlier reported that despite the Punjab government’s notification, Talib was being hindered from performing his duties, while some sources even alleged that he was not allowed to operate from the President’s secretariat (president’s office).

Interestingly, senior bankers within the banking industry seem to be divided over SBP’s response, raising serious questions over the verdict.

Sources within BOP and SBP have also alleged that SBP’s decision regarding Talib’s removal is based on anonymous tips, unnamed letters and personal preferences. And even more, none of Talib’s former bosses and colleagues were contacted in regards to the FPT clearance, indicating backdoor diplomacy.

Retired Banker and Talib’s former boss at Bank Alfalah Pervaz Shahid told Profit, “It is unfortunate to see what has happened with Talib. I cannot comment on SBP’s procedures however Talib has served at senior management positions and every year FPTs were conducted internally and externally as well. Moreover, senior banker Zubair Soomro was part of the selection committee and if any criteria were being violated then he would have pointed out there and then.”

He added, “In my personal opinion Talib Rizvi is overqualified for the job and is indeed an excellent banker. And as far as Talib’s age is concerned as a criterion for the job, major banks in Pakistan that have seen a decline, were all led by well-aged professionals.”

Profit, having consulted at least 5 senior bankers, 4 were of the view that if the same criteria of ‘diversified experience’ is applied to all current CEO quite a few would fail to pass the FPT.

Another banker claimed that other presidents and CEOs including BankIslami Pakistan CEO Syed Amir Ali, Allied Bank Limited CEO Tahir Qureshi and former Punjab Cooperative Bank Limited and ZTBL CEO Talat Mahmood all had less or comparable experience to Talib Rizvi at the time of their appointment.

Syed Amir Ali has a total banking experience 13 to 14 years, while Tahir Qureshi who has more experience in core banking than business banking were both appointed as bank presidents. Moreover, Talat Mahmood had only served as Area Manager at United Bank Limited and at ABN Amro Bank, before being appointed as the bank’s president.

Meanwhile, some have come forward regarding the wording of the SBP’s letter.

The SBP letter also stated, “It may please be noted that the above FPT Assessment of Syed Muhammad Talib Rizvi is only for the position of President/CEO of BOP and may not be construed as his ineligibility for appointment against any other suitable position in a bank/financial institution provided he fulfils the requirement of such position.”

Various bankers are demanding clarity over the apologetic nature of the letter as well as questioning the choice of words. They say that if Rizvi is fit to serve at any other suitable position in a bank/financial institution, then why is he not being appointed as the CEO for BOP.

Nonetheless, previously Allied Bank’s current President Tahir Hassan Qureshi’s FPT clearance was also declined by the SBP sighting similar reasons, and he was then appointed on another key post only to be promoted as President of the bank later on January 01, 2017. The SBP states that this is standard procedure and is in no way questioning Rizvi’s capabilities and BOP may choose to propose his appointment as the President once again after some time, which can be reviewed by the State Bank once again.

It is pertinent to mention that FPT clearances are usually issued within a few days if not weeks since it hinders the applicant bank’s operations, yet in BOP’s case the reply was received after almost 3 months.

When contacted for a comment on these developments, Talib Rizvi said, “I respect SBP’s decision,” adding, “I am a passionate banker and absolutely love what I do and would continue to provide my services within the banking sector.” He, however, denied commenting further on various speculation surrounding the SBP’s letter.

THE STATE BANK’S STANCE

The State Bank of Pakistan’s spokesperson, while talking to Profit, declined to comment on the rumours regarding favouritism, backdoor diplomacy and the specifics of Talib’s removal, however, he maintained that the State Bank being the banking regulatory authority in Pakistan holds the right to approve and disapprove the appointment of president/CEO and other key positions for the banks in Pakistan and that all criteria had already been clearly marked.

Later in a written reply regarding the matter, SBP Spokesperson Abid Qamar told Profit, “The FPT is described under Regulation G-1 of Prudential Regulations for Corporate/Commercial Banking (Risk Management, Corporate Governance and Operations) of the State Bank of Pakistan, which defines the criteria comprehensively for the selection of a Bank’s President/CEO. The same is available on SBP’s website.”

He further added, “The FPT of any individual for the position of President/CEO of a bank is carried out by SBP on the basis of regulations existing at the time decision is required. SBP assesses every candidate using a holistic approach based on all the information available to it and the decision is communicated to the relevant institution only. For any further information, the institution may be approached directly.”

It is noteworthy that Profit did approach BOP chairman to whom SBP’s letters were addressed and Punjab’s finance secretary, however, they are still to respond despite repeated attempts.

Addressing the rumours Abid Qamar stated, “Further, SBP cannot answer any general query that entails past records of large proportions or based on rumours or speculation.”

The state bank introduced the FPT clearance in order to strengthen the corporate governance regime in line with the international best practices. According to the guidelines all senior management appointments, including any executive, acting as second to CEO, by whatever name called, and including the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Deputy Managing Director, Chief Financial Officer/Head of Finance/Head of Accounts/ Head of Audit and Company secretary, must first seek clearance from SBP, only after the clearance under the FPT criteria can the person assume the duties of the office.

The SBP’s FPT criteria states that any fresh appointments or reappointments should clear 6 key areas including honesty and integrity, track record, solvency and financial integrity, and experience and qualification.

Moreover, the SBP letter refusing Talib’s FTP clearance also stated, “Considering the urgency of the matter, the bank is advised to entrust acting charge of the office of CEO to a key executive of the bank, who meets the FPT requirements for the subject position, in line with the BPRD Circular Letter No. 12 of 2011.”

37 COMMENTS

  1. Your write-up is heavily loaded(infact appears to have been written to please someone or penned outrightly at the behest of that same person) in favor of the CEO who’s appointment has been declined for lack of diversified banking experience. It also gives the reader an impression that SBPs decision is devoid of any merit and smells foul. Quite disappointing

    • Unfortunately we have been complaining since Pakistans’ is showing decline on economic & political fronts that merit is a reason to all bad happening to the country. Contrary to what we say, we practise it if get a chance like in the appointment of Mr. Rizvi. Mr. Rizvi is a self made man & grew from bottom to top without anyone on his back but his determination & commitment to succeed in banking. Banking is his passion & he is a source of motivation to young bankers to aspire him.
      From a humble beginning to reach to a SEVP position is 10years & then staying there for 10 years is a validation of his capabilities. He has not managed portfolio while serving as head retail banking division but he grew the bank with organic strategy of two banks ranked in top 10.

      Secondly, financial standing if someone is questioning, banking is probable pioneer in adopting variable & fixed remuneration program. Being a SEVP for 10years is a just to his strong financially standing where he has not been getting fixed salary but bonuses. Any retail head of a stable private bank probably must be making millions a month if I’m not wrong which is a quite a good package to maintain a lavish life style or give outstanding education to his children’s.

      Nevertheless, someone from our own flocks has reached to the top is indigestible to many instead to encourage & appreciate it. Humble man will also give weight to humble people & in Pakistan majorities are from humble background.

    • Dear Brother,

      State bank has a requirement to be the President. Talib Rizvi fullfils all that requirement. The problem as you rightly mentioned, people coming from humble backgrounds like Mr Rizvi are politically victimized.

  2. Very interesting article, although facts are already known to most of the bankers. The complete process of 6 months was ignored . BOP is suffering a lot because of this bad decision

  3. The whole process of shortlisting candidates for the BOP President Position stinks . Including this motivated article.
    Three Incompetent people with questionable back ground were shortlisted .
    Did you investigate Why was Talib Rizvi fired from Bank Alfallah and later from Habib Metro ???
    Do you have any info on Bank Alfallah housing society scam of 4.8 billion in which Bashir Tahir and Talib were involved ???
    Talib’s unexplained accumulation of wealth while working with Bank Alfallah….. his houses in Italy, Spain, Argentinian polo horses …..
    Involvement of Chaudries of Gujrat in the selection process ???? As they have the biggest stake in terms of Non performing Loans obtained at the time of former jailed “Young & Inexperienced President Hamesh Khan” who was incidentally Also selected by Chaudries of Gujrat ????
    Why was Hasan RAZA asked to resign from last two jobs … and is jobless for sometime now ???
    Khalid Tirmizi’s FPT test was also rejected by SBP because of corruption in Faysal bank . Knowing that he cannot get the position , he is promoting Hamdani , another stooge who has also made rounds to meet Chaudhries …..
    Zubair Soomro comes from a political background and so he obliged Chaudhry’s by selecting a weak lot ….
    I think you need to investigate a lot more before writing such stupidity

    • Your Fake allegations against Talib and especially Alfalah society. I am member of Alfalah society and personally check that their is no irregularities They showed me NAB clearance letter And Supreme court forensic audit report. Everything was clear.

    • Wow , investigate why he was fired ? ? ??
      Read with Eye glasses the comments frm Bank Alafalah & Talib’s former boss at Bank Alfalah Pervaz Shahid told to Profit, “In my personal opinion Talib Rizvi is overqualified for the job and is indeed an excellent banker. And as far as Talib’s age is concerned as a criterion for the job, major banks in Pakistan that have seen a decline, were all led by well-aged professionals.”
      تم بے غیرت لوگ انگریزی تو سمجھتے نہیں ہو ، فٹا فٹ کمنٹ کرنے آ جاتے ہو
      پڑھو بابا لکھا کیا ہے ترجمہ کروا لو اور پھر منہ کھولو .
      پڑھا لکھا بندا اچھےجائیداد خاندان والا، خاندانی رتبے والا اگر اپنی محنت سے کچھ کر رہا ہے تو خوش ہو تاکہ ملک ترقی کرے،یہ کسی لالچی سفارشی کو بٹھانے سے لاکھ بہتر ہے

    • My dear Anonymous, Alfalah society is a cooperative society & if you don’t know what is that then go read about it first then place allegation.

  4. Awkward situation and a Queation mark to whole selection procedure of Punjab Govt caused by SBP. If T.Rizvi is fit to sever any Financial institution as stated by SBP letter , why can’t he govern BOP ? Questioning Diversity of Experience in his case is total irrelevant as he has more Years of experience at top financial positions than the upcoming 2 candidates . Being a banker myself over 34years ,I can tell that such lame verdicts at last minute would only cause Huge Reputation loss to BOP & Credibility will be questioned by it’s Stake holders and financial investors. This political-Beurocratic intervention of governor SBP just to please his own nominees can’t go ignored, and certainly it appears that Nepotism Has hit harder even financial institutions- Such a shameful act of Governor SBP

    • I said
      1) investigate from Bank Alfallah’s new management why was Talib Rizvi fired

      2) Pervaiz Shahid , Talib’s boss was himself involved in criminal activities in Alfallah society scam …..so he will obviously support his partner in crime !!
      Who doesn’t know Pervaiz Shahid and his brother Bashir Tahir Of BCCI fame …… Bashir was was indicted and arrested in BCCI scam ….. 🤣🤣

      3) Sevp’s net salary at top range is plus / minus 20 million per annum. After taxes the salary would be 14 million . After living expenses, Max saving could be 10 million in an year . Multiplied by 10 years = Rs 100 million . In this amount one can max afford to buy a 1 Kanal small house in islamabad…….. so pls think . Rizvi’s networth is 2-3 billion ????
      How

      4) Networth of People who have been President’s Of UBL , HBL , ABL , MCB for 10 years with service of plus 35 and salaries 10 times more than Rizvi do not have networth of 1/5th of Rizvi ????
      No they are not stupid …. simply Honest

      5) We have copies of documents and cheques exchange having Rizvi’s signatures together with another arrested scoundrel Fawad Hasan Fawad and others in Alfallah society with us 😉

      6) Number of our friends were defrauded by such scoundrels in Alfallah society with their hard earned honest money’s doomed ….. so we curse them every day !!!

      7) SBP has at its disposable all his record and evidences including fake accounts in various friends and family names …… to whom all bank contracts were given

      8 ) His juniors who worked with him have given evidences to the pimping he did

      9) SBP has been Very Kind to Him for wording of Rejection letter …. probably managed by his powerful partners in Crime !!
      So he should be thankful

      10 ) Merit my foot …. Finanane minister of Punjab resigned from the selection committee when forced to recommend his name ….. Why ????

      Merit my foot !!!

  5. That’s a bad news certainly for BOP and for all other financial institutions. Usually selection procedures are questioned , if any, within due course of 4-6 weeks & in this particular case it’s happening after 3 months period which smells Hoax . A Sham FPT report by SBP is issued just to frustrate the whole selection committee procedure depriving Rizvi to join on merit . This decision targets less to Rizvi’s FPT and more to fine Top banker Zubair Somoro was part of selection committee to render committees decision in favor of Rizvis appointment obv If something was wrong , he could have pointed during selection board.

  6. زبیر سومروجھک مارنے تو نہیں بیٹھے ہوں گے ناں ، کچھ دیکھ کر ہی اپائنٹمنٹ کی ہو گی .
    اب گورنر سٹیٹ بنک کو اپنا دوست اپائنٹ کروانا ہے تو بھلا کون روک سکتا ہے . جنگل راج ہے
    بھائ

  7. Talib Rizvi shall not be quiet over this Malafide and self contradictory letter by SBP . He must seek legal advise and call out for stay orders .
    This would be a crime to stay quiet on such nepotistic approach by SBP.

  8. Talib sir , don’t be too humble to ignore this pleaseeeeeeeeeeeee . You have worked with excellency all these years and you must fight for the righteous.
    If not for yourself then for the sake of banking profession and the force that drive our passion in banking sector, which we learned from you at Bank Alfalah.
    We all

  9. It’s pretty self explanatory.
    Talib Rizvi must seek legal help .
    It’s only a feint practice to frustrate his joining on merit as President
    Financial institutions must not be risked for personal favors .Put up a Review request to SBP and ask court for stay orders .
    Else call us and we wil help your legal matters instantly.

  10. You think person who has been SEVP for this long that too in the top level banks of pakistan cannot afford a couple of horses and lands. Do you even know the family background. There are two roads in Islamabad and Rawalpindi on this fathers name.

    When he took over as head of retail in habibmetro the banks had 200 + branches and almost non existing in north under his leaderahip the bank grew muktiple folds..

    Plus dont you think if he owns horses and lands FBR dosn’t know about it.. i am sure a person at level is a tax filer and all assets are declared..

    Its people like you who play with someones career without knowing anything about him.. its a shame what people have come down to.

    Bugger off

  11. I believe Talib Rizvi has the experience required and the capability to take BOP to the next level. Not even giving him the chance to prove his worth there is totally wrong and on the expense of the bank being without a strong leadership.

  12. I believe Talib Rizvi is a experience and seasonal banker, giving and taking the presidency ship at the Same time is total unacceptable. He should be giving a change as he is trend setter in getting Branch banking to next level….
    So political or personal interest should be put aside and give him a chance .

  13. Talib is a seasoned banker and everyone in the banking industry is aware of his accomplishments, he is all worthy of being the CEO of POB.

  14. Reason stated for disqualification i.e. “diversified Experience” need to be viewed with telescope in the contest of conventional banking organogram which is in contrast to matrix system.

    In my opinion, CV of Mr. Rizvi to be read with care; he has been responsible for Retail Banking in a conventional banks for 10 years where majority functions of the bank was directly or indirectly associated with him or he was a part of decision making processes.

    Reason may have been taken valid if he served for a bank where business is completely independent of support functions which is not the case in Mr. Rizvi experience.

    Mr. Rizvi hold strong ground to challenge the decision which I think he will not because he is professional banker & will respect the regulator independence.

  15. The observation regarding the lack of diversified experience raised by sbp is totally unreasonable, Mr talib Rizvi has a vast and unparalleled experience while working at top management psoitions for the past 23 years.

    I agree with the post above. The case should be challenged

  16. I think Mr Rizvi was one of the best choices. Talent cannot be measured with age. He is talented, so what if he is Young. We have a Governor state bank who is younger then him. So you can be the governor of the state bank at a young age but being a president of a commercial bank is a problem? How does this make sense? He should take the statebank to court. Sure shot case!!!

  17. Mr. Talib has an Implacable reputation of a professional banker not only in north but across the county.. i was amazed with the decison as well

  18. NEPOTISM or decline of Meritocracy!!!!
    Irony is NOT a rejection of capable person BUT certainly a projection of corrupt practices at its climax.

  19. Due-care, due-diligence and due-process were absolutely not followed through out the whole matter. A person of high grade’s career was put on stake on the basis of concocted and fabricated information raised by the vicious and venamous propagenda campaigns againist him. The weakest link is state bank level of screening process remained fragile and untrustworthy.
    We have every right to ask SBP what is meant by “Diversified Experience” as reason of rejection of Mr Talib Rizvi?
    Why was this diversified experience not highlighted and streamlined at the time of vetting?
    Who influenced SBP to make a decision in haste?
    What is the credibility of this decision left when no one bothered to take it seriously?
    Last but not least, why don’t we believe in this hearsay that Governor is interested in an appointment of his incompetent blue-eyed person for such highly-skilled post?

  20. Mr. Talib Rizvi having diversified experience of more then 20 years in the banking sector. How can I e forget his categorical tremendous efforts for different banks. It’s a pity to turn down such a capable and deserving candidate from presidency just to oblige your preferred ones. The letter itself is so apologetic and questionable regarding it’s reasoning and issuance period. It’s seemed selection committee has no authority to rightly justify a dignified decision. All I can say is Mr. Talib Rizvi has taken all banks he worked in to heights of success and at a very young age into a brilliant banker due to his hard work and Amicable passion. What to say about those, who are unable to digest his success and his profound leading capabilities. Mr. Talib Rizvi should challenge this unjustified decision and seek legal help as he is and will be the best choice to become president of BOP.

  21. A true irony is rejection of a capable person like Mr. Talib Rizvi & continuation of malpractices to support nepotism and favoritism

    Bug off haters

  22. They should advertise he post again …… with new selection committee….. Also remove the
    Khalid Tirmizi / acting President whose FPT was refused earlier by SBP for Corruption in Faysal bank

  23. I respect SBP decision being a regulator but it surprised the whole banking industry. If Mr. Rizvi is not fit to be CEO of the bank due to lack of experience then it arises question marks on many of the CEOs of the banks in Pakistan who have lesser experience than Mr. Rizvi and Cleared FTP from same regulator i.e. SBP.
    Wish you all the best to Mr. Rizvi as he deserves much more in future.

  24. Yes, the Alfalah Society scam was there and Pervez Shahid was involved.

    Anyway, the position should be advertise again …… nobody who has political background or affiliation should not be part of selection committee.

    The SBP top management (Governor) should not intervene in the selection process. It should be fair & transparent not like hiring in NBP H.O.

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