'C'tee should pick next Israel Securities Authority chief'

Moshe Terry, the current ISA chairman, is leaving the post as his tenure comes to an end.

MOSHE TERRY 88 224 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Movement for Quality Government in Israel is urging Finance Minister Ronnie Bar-On and Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz to set up a search committee to determine the successor to Moshe Terry as chairman of the Israel Securities Authority to avert any potential damage that could be caused to the economy. "The selection process of the chairman of the ISA is of utmost importance and not much needs to be said about the damage that could be caused to the economy and public trust from an inappropriate selection process," said Daniel Kayros of the Movement for Quality Government in Israel. "In the past we have seen politically motivated appointments and, therefore, we demand full disclosure and transparency over the selection process of the position." The finance minister has the authority to appoint the ISA's chairman and is not obliged to establish a search or select committee. Terry, the current chairman of the ISA is leaving the post on January 31 as his tenure of six years comes to an end. Although Terry, an associate of then finance minister Silvan Shalom, had fulfilled several securities-related positions, his nomination in 2002 aroused a furor, based on claims that a position of such sensitivity should not be filled by a person with political connections. "I am convinced that the finance minister will succeed in appointing the most appropriate person," Reuven Schiff, president of the Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Israel told The Jerusalem Post. "That said, the selection process should be conducted in full disclosure and with utmost transparency and, therefore, the establishment of a search committee including members acting not out of favoritism is recommended." Schiff added that since the position of the chairman of the ISA was one of the most important and most sensitive positions in the economy, the next chairman needed to have a strong, professional and independent personality to be able to withstand the pressures from capitalists and controlling interest holders. The urgent letter sent to Bar-On by the Movement for Quality Government followed unconfirmed press reports that the finance minister was considering appointing one of his allies to the post. Furthermore, in a report last month, Mazuz pointed out to Bar-On, that the sensitivity of the post required a professional and orderly selection process and for this reason the next chairman of the ISA should be selected by a procedure that was professional, public and transparent. The Finance Ministry, said in response that no decision was made yet over the selection procedure for the post. As a case of reference supporting the movement's demand, Kayros pointed to the procedure for the appointment of the new Tax Authority director, which also falls under the authority of Bar-On. Back in February, Mazuz abrogated then finance minister Avraham Hirchson's statutory power to appoint the next director of the Tax Authority. Hirchson ordered Yarom Ariav, the Finance Ministry's director general, to establish a search committee, headed by the accountant Yitzhak Suari to recommend a new permanent Tax Authority director following the resignation of Jackie Matza, who had been arrested in connection with a tax corruption scandal in January. "In the case of the appointment of a new Tax Authority chairman, Mazuz interfered and ordered a search committee to be established. In view of that decision, we demand that the finance minister and the attorney general clarify that indeed a committee will be established for the selection of the next ISA chairman or instead provide explanation why in the case of the Tax Authority there is justification and not in the case of the ISA," said Kayros.