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RESERVE BANK OF AUSTRALIA

Code of Conduct for Reserve Bank Board Members

Preamble

The duty of the Reserve Bank Board to direct the policy and powers of the Reserve Bank is set out in section 10 of the Reserve Bank Act 1959. In light of the Bank's legislated goals, members recognise their role in maintaining the Bank's reputation for integrity and propriety in all respects. Hence they agree to adhere to this Code of Conduct.

General Principles

Members will observe the highest possible standards of ethical conduct. They will seek to enhance, and will not impair, the Bank's exercise of its powers, standing in the community and reputation for integrity, fairness, honesty and independence.

Provisions

Members must comply with their statutory obligations as directors of the Bank. The main sources of those obligations are the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) and the Reserve Bank Act.

Members' obligations under the PGPA Act include, but are not limited to, obligations to exercise their powers and discharge their duties with care and diligence, honestly, in good faith and for a proper purpose. Under the Reserve Bank Act, members are obliged at all times to maintain secrecy in relation to the affairs of the Board and the Bank, and not divulge any information they learn as a member, except as agreed by the Board or under compulsion or obligation by law.

Under provisions of the Reserve Bank Act, members must furnish a confidential statement of material personal interests to the Treasurer annually and, during the year, notify any substantial change since their most recent annual statement. In order for members to discuss and decide monetary and financial system stability policies, notwithstanding a material personal interest in the outcome, they are obliged to comply with these provisions.

Members must declare to the other members of the Board any material personal interest they have in a matter relating to the affairs of the Board other than monetary and financial stability policies. Members may give standing notice to other members outlining the nature and extent of a material personal interest.

Members considering taking on a material personal interest that might present, or might be perceived as presenting, a risk of conflict with their role as a Board member, should consult the Governor before committing themselves.

Members must take great care when dealing with offers of entertainment, travel, accommodation or any other benefit from third parties. Members must avoid any possibility of actual or perceived conflicts that might arise from such offers that could damage the Bank's reputation for integrity and independence.

Under the Reserve Bank Act, a member is not permitted to be a director, officer or employee of an Authorised Deposit-taking Institution (ADI). In addition to this legislative requirement, this Code of Conduct requires members:

  • to advise the Governor of the existence of any material personal interest in an ADI or other financial entity (this is in addition to the annual disclosure to the Treasurer)
  • not to perform any paid or unpaid work as a consultant or adviser to an ADI
  • not to perform any paid or unpaid work as a director, officer or employee of, or a consultant or adviser to, a holder of an Australian credit licence or any private-sector entity operating in Australia whose main business is the provision of finance
  • not to participate in deliberations of an entity that provides or manages insurance, a registrable superannuation entity or a managed fund more generally, where there may be an actual or perceived conflict of interest with their role and obligations as a member of the Reserve Bank Board. This does not preclude members' involvement in the governance of the entity's investment strategy, consistent with any duties they might have as a director, but does preclude members from participating in active management of funds for such an entity.

Members' obligations under the PGPA Act also require that they must not improperly use information obtained as a Board member to gain an advantage for themselves or any other person or to cause detriment to the Bank or any other person. Other persons include corporations and therefore include companies of which a member is a director, adviser or employee.

Members must take great care to protect the Bank's reputation when undertaking financial transactions for their own account or when participating in decisions regarding financial transactions in relation to their business or other interests. In particular, members must not participate in transactions in ‘Blackout Financial Instruments’ between the time at which Board papers are made available to members (normally at 10.00 am Sydney time on the Friday prior to a Board meeting) and the announcement of the Board's monetary policy decision. ‘Blackout Financial Instruments’ are interest rate products (including but not limited to bonds, bills, notes, certificates of deposit and term deposits), shares, warrants, options, corporate bonds and foreign exchange (except for travel purposes). This restriction does not preclude passive, predetermined investment (for example, the rollover of a pre-existing term deposit, a regular prearranged contribution to a managed investment scheme or shares purchased under a dividend reinvestment plan).

Members must respect the confidentiality of information obtained as a Board member and Board discussions, both during and after their term. Members, who in the ordinary course of their activities outside the Bank have occasion to discuss economic matters, will do so on the basis that the views so presented are personal or affiliated with another institution, not the Bank.

Members accept that the Governor, and where appropriate on occasion the Deputy Governor, is the only spokesperson for the Board on monetary and financial system stability policy matters.

The Governor and Deputy Governor must adhere to this Code as well as to the Bank's Code of Conduct for its staff.

Where issues arise that are not specifically addressed in this Code, members should exercise sound judgement and behaviour consistent with the provisions of this Code.