Capitec CEO casts shade over short seller Viceroy

Cape Town – Capitec Bank CEO Gerrie Fourie told Parliament’s Standing Committee on Finance that much of the South African financial services market was better off for the arrival of Capitec.

He also said the bank provided credit to clients responsibly.

Fourie questioned the structure of Viceroy Research as an institution, in the bank's defence against the organisation’s report which hints at Capitec cooking its books, as well as other companies such as Steinhoff.

Fourie told the committee that it only granted credit through a model based on client behaviour, affordability and revenue source.

He maintained that the South African unsecured market was still very young but that banking in the country was generally well regulated.

“Credit is only provided to formally employed, salaried individuals. The system centrally controls the credit granting model and the model is dynamic and easily updated with economic variables,” Fourie said.

He put paid to the fact that key individuals at Viceroy Research were two Australian citizens (Aidan Lau and Gabriel Bernarde) and a British citizen (Fraser Perring). He said the group was linked to at least three hedge funds and had no known or disclosed regulators.

Capitec said it was already sufficiently regulated by at least seven state and sector organisations, including the SA Reserve Bank, the Financial Services Board, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and the Financial Intelligence Centre.

In contrast, Capitec said, Viceroy was not regulated, did not have its structure disclosed and was not audited. The bank said Viceroy Research engaged in among others shorting the stock of a company before issuing a report on it and insisting on independent investigation.

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