James Gruver, the managing direc­tor of BNY Mellon Asset Manage­ment’s Australian operations, was look­ing a little nervous when Unbalancedcaught up with him before Christmas.

He was about to take his annual trip back to the States with the family, but it wasn’t the vacation that had him worried. It was that he’d be boarding the plane without his BlackBerry, as per BNY Mellon’s global human resources policy.

Now anyone who’s met James knows that depriving him of his ‘Berry is like asking Keith Richards to go without his Stratocaster.

“It is kind of like part of my hand,” Gruver admitted.

But while he was away, Gruver could not even log in remotely to his work emails.

It’s all part of Bank of New York internal controls, which stipulate that all senior employees must take at least one fortnight of consecutive leave each year, and have no contact with the company during that time.

The policy is reasonably consistent with the fraud controls of other banks (in recent years some had reduced the consecutive leave requirement to five days, but post-Madoff that will probably go up again), and follows the logic that if a guy’s cooking the books, he won’t like leaving the ‘kitchen’ for a couple of weeks.

We can report that James made it back from his break, sanity intact, and by mid-January had already organised two BNY meetings for Unbalanced– no doubt making up for lost time.


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