Databank shuts offices, works from home
Databank Financial Services Ltd, has closed its offices and asked all staff to work from the comfort of their homes or other remote places.
The measure which took effect from yesterday is the extension of its policy of some of its staff working from home in shifts, implemented during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The move also followed physical and verbal attacks on some of its staff by some of its clients.
The company, in an email to its clients, said it had been affected by the liquidity challenges that had rocked the fund management industry owing to the "macroeconomic crisis" facing the country.
It said the crisis had resulted in the company's inability to pay withdrawal requests and impacted its original two-week estimate for withdrawals.
"We are currently engaging with the Ministry of Finance, our regulator the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Ghana Securities Industry Association regarding the impact of the debt exchange on Databank’s mutual funds, as well as other collective investment schemes.
"As part of these discussions, the SEC issued a notice to Market Operators (SEC/CIR/005/12/22) on December 9, 2022, indicating its intent to support the market with much-needed liquidity relief, including access to the Financial Stability Fund as a last resort.
“Therefore, we are hopeful that once the Debt Exchange Programme has been concluded (expected settlement date: January 5, 2023), we will be able to access the necessary funds to once again pay withdrawal requests. We are totally reliant on the Government of Ghana to pay us, so we can in turn pay clients," the email said.
The email said while many clients had tried to be patient, others had resorted to abusing staff and threatening their lives, as well as their families.
"Many of our clients have tried to be patient with us as we wait for the government to provide liquidity. For this, we are extremely grateful. However, there are several clients who have felt the need to abuse our staff physically and verbally, and also threaten their lives, as well as their families. As such, we have no choice but to move to a work-from-home option," the email said.
"While our offices will be physically closed, we will continue to serve you and process transactions remotely, and all our digital channels will remain open just as we did during COVID-19.
However, we cannot endanger the lives of staff by opening the office without any available liquidity.
"We are fully aware the current crisis in our industry is very concerning, and we continue to ask for your patience during these difficult times,” it added.
The company expressed the hope that the financial stability fund or any other fund that the government might provide in the interim would provide much-needed relief for investors. “We will provide another update once we have a clearer view of the situation,” the company told its clients.