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Code of Ethics for the Staff of the Central Bank of Argentina

The Code of Ethics of the Central Bank of Argentina (BCRA) makes express reference to the ethical and moral principles and rules which are mandatory, and lays down the criteria for assessing compliance with all the obligations already assumed by its staff.

It applies to all persons working for the BCRA, regardless of their rank, hierarchy, or contractual arrangement, whether of a temporary or permanent nature.

Code of Ethics for the Staff of the Central Bank of Argentina

Introduction

General Principles and Objectives

The BCRA, a self-administered entity of the National State that regulates the financial system, has undertaken—in accordance with the provisions of the Law on Ethics for Government Officials (Ley de Ética en el Ejercicio de la Función Pública) and the Code of Ethics for Government Officials (Código de Ética de la Función Pública)—to issue a Code of Ethics to show its determination to ensure an efficient, loyal and transparent work environment.

This Code sets out the general ethical and moral principles and rules that all persons working for the BCRA shall apply in a standard, consistent and permanent manner in the course of their activities. The main goal of this Code is to establish the overall ethical framework for each and every activity performed at the BCRA. This code thus lays down a set of deontological principles and rules that are aimed to guide the conduct of all persons working for the BCRA and to serve as a reference for the general public with regard to the standard of conduct that third parties are entitled to expect in their dealings with the BCRA.

1. Scope and Enforcement Authority

1.1. The Code of Ethics applies to all the persons working for the BCRA, regardless of their rank, hierarchy, or contractual arrangement, whether of a temporary or permanent nature. Moreover, the Code outlines the general principles and rules that govern the ethical and professional behavior of the members of the Board of Directors, and of the Supervisory Audit, along with that of advisors. However, these officials do not fall within the scope of the Compliance Committee referred to in the Annex hereto. For the sake of consistency, all those governed by this Code shall be referred to as “addressees”.

1.2. The effective implementation of this Code basically relies on the professionalism, awareness and good judgment of the addressees. In addition to conducting themselves as is expected, the addressees holding senior office shall set an example of commitment to the principles and criteria set out herein.

1.3. A Compliance Committee shall be the enforcement authority of this Code—which will be made up of the General Manager, the Legal Services Deputy General Manager, the General Auditor, and the Administration and Central Services Deputy General Manager. It can hold a meeting with at least three (3) members present. The Compliance Committee shall provide, through the competent areas, any necessary support to the organizational units of the BCRA so that it can achieve its goals, encouraging the addressees to supervise their own activities and observe applicable laws and regulations, the BCRA’s Staff Internal Regulations, and the guidelines set out in this Code.

2. Addressees’ Obligations

Addressees shall undertake to acquaint themselves with the provisions of this Code and further its compliance, discharging their duties with the care and skill required for the position or task for which they have been appointed. They shall also be committed to:

  • a) Conducting themselves in an appropriate and honest manner both inside and outside the Institution.
  • b) Carrying out their duties in a diligent, effective and suitable way, abiding by the principles of good faith, integrity, fairness, transparency, discretion and responsibility.
  • c) Refraining from performing any actions that may jeopardize the role of the Institution, and avoiding any situation that may create a conflict of interest.
  • d) Reporting any violation of this Code that may come to their knowledge in the course or as a result of their duties.
3. Standards of Conduct

3.1. Internal Relationships

a) Loyalty and cooperation The duty of loyalty means that addressees are to perform the tasks allocated and follow all the instructions given by their superiors and/or the relevant hierarchical level, and to conduct themselves in good faith, in a diligent and cooperative manner towards their superiors, subordinates and other co-workers. A breach of the duty of loyalty occurs when addressees act in a manner that may adversely affect the normal course of work for personal benefit; for instance, hiding information from, willfully providing false, inaccurate or altered data to, or refusing to cooperate with, superiors or co-workers, or else hindering the development of work in any other way. The relationship among the addressees shall always be based on mutual respect, support and collaboration in order to achieve a harmonious and productive work environment. Addressees shall refrain from taking any action or making any statement that may adversely affect relationships within the Institution or that may willfully damage the reputation of other addressees.

b) Equal treatment and non-discrimination The BCRA will not tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, religion, political opinion, union affiliation, marital status, age, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, link of kinship, disability or physical traits, social/economic level or any other personal or social condition. Addressees may not practice any form of discrimination. On the contrary, they shall give equal treatment in identical situations. No decision regarding hiring, promotion, pay rise on merit and/or competitive selection processes may entitle any relative of the addressees to get preferential treatment.

c) Personal integrity. No harassment or intimidation The BCRA is committed to promoting a work environment where everyone is treated with respect and dignity, and will tolerate no behavior that could amount to intimidation or harassment. Addresses shall refrain from taking any action that may involve physical or psychological harassment or intimidation. This behavior involves physical conduct, gestures and verbal statements. The BCRA exercises its control, supervisory and management powers according to its organizational needs while respecting the dignity of workers, which excludes all forms of abuse of rights.

3.2. External Relationships. External relationships shall mean any relationships of the BCRA and the addressees with the general public, users of financial services, suppliers, institutions regulated and/or supervised by the BCRA, business chambers, public bodies and other related parties. Addressees shall undertake:

  • a) To be polite and friendly, and to use proper language.
  • b) To give equal and respectful treatment towards people other than those working for the BCRA, facilitating access to public records so that they can exercise their rights and comply with their obligations.
  • c) To enforce the laws and policies established by the competent authorities.
  • d) To provide services on an accessible, efficient and accurate basis. The addressees shall not obtain or seek, for themselves or for others, any undue gain or advantage by reason of their position, authority, actual or apparent influence; neither shall they use coercion against any officers or other persons.
4. Rules on the Use of Available Information

Addressees shall behave in such a way as to ensure the exercise of the right to public information, promoting citizens’ participation and transparency in public affairs in accordance with the principles and procedures established in the related regulations applicable to the BCRA.

Addressees shall abide by the provisions laid down in Law No. 25,326, as amended and supplemented, on the protection of natural and legal persons' personal data as well as their free circulation. Particularly, addressees may not handle personal data for unlawful purposes or disclose them to unauthorized persons.

Data protection is essential to the BCRA’s integrity and to its activities conducted within the framework of its duties and missions. Therefore, addressees shall use the software and hardware provided by the BCRA in a reasonable manner and for the work-related purposes for which they have been allocated. Addressees shall refrain from disclosing information related to their tasks and duties and/or to their work at the Institution using non-institutional channels.

The software and hardware provided by the BCRA, as well as the information contained in or obtained therefrom are property of the BCRA and subject to its jurisdiction.

4.1. Confidential Information

Any matter known in the course or as a result of service shall be considered confidential, pursuant to the BCRA’s Staff Internal Regulations (Section 13, 2°), the Law on Financial Institutions, as amended (Ley de Entidades Financieras) (Law No. 21,526) (Sections 39 and 40), the Law on Ethics for Government Officials (Section 2(f) of Law No. 25,188) and the Code of Ethics for Government Officials (Section 19 of Executive Order No. 41/99), in addition to the duties and responsibilities derived from the regulations on administrative secret or confidentiality. Addressees shall keep confidential all the information gathered or generated by the BCRA as well as the policies, procedures or operations they come to know or have access to in the course of their work, exclusively using such information to perform their duties. Hence, disclosure shall only be made to a requesting party authorized by law.

The duty of confidentiality also extends to the prohibition to change, reproduce, adapt or delete, alter or amend any information that comes to their knowledge in the course or as a result of their work, whether for themselves or for third parties. Moreover, addressees shall handle and safeguard information with the utmost care, following the procedures in place at the BCRA for the access, custody and conservation of information.

The duty of confidentiality shall not encompass: (i) information that was already available to the public as of the date on which it was furnished to addressees; (ii) information that has lawfully become available to the public as decided by the BCRA; (iii) information that has to be provided to comply with a legal obligation pursuant to current procedures; (iv) information that has to be made available to the public for the appropriate performance of work.

Addressees may only access, process, store or use the information gathered or generated by the BCRA where necessary for the fulfillment of their tasks in accordance with the stated purposes.

Addressees shall not:

  • a) Provide confidential or sensitive information to unauthorized persons.
  • b) Furnish information on internal techniques or procedures that may allow users of financial services and/or regulated and/or supervised institutions to evade compliance with their obligations to the State.
  • c) Enter false data in, or unlawfully exclude accurate data from, IT systems.
  • d) Give their passwords to BCRA systems to other people.
  • e) Use confidential information for transactions from which they obtain a gain or get an advantage for themselves or third parties.

Addressees shall not disclose any confidential information learned in the course of their work, even after their relationship with the BCRA has terminated.

4.2. Inside Information

Inside information means any confidential and material information relevant to take decisions about bank, financial and foreign exchange transactions. It further extends to any information which, though not being confidential, is gained by the addressees on account of their position before other people or market participants. For the purposes of preventing the addressees from using inside information for their own benefit or that of third parties, they shall observe the following rules of conduct:

  • The use of inside information by the addressees for personal benefit or for that of a third party is forbidden.
  • The provision of inside information to a third party who is not entitled to receive it as per the applicable legal provisions is forbidden.
  • Addressees shall refrain from conducting—either directly or indirectly—any transaction in the market by using inside information for their benefit. Neither may they inform third parties or provide recommendations to them, either directly or indirectly, so that they can execute this kind of transactions.
  • Addressees shall refrain from circulating inside information among different areas of the BCRA, unless disclosure is requested on sufficient grounds by the legitimate addressees; and to the extent it does not breach any law, and is made through official channels.
  • Addressees shall refrain from carrying out—either directly or indirectly—transactions with shares or any other equity instrument in institutions either regulated and/or supervised by the BCRA. Neither shall they inform third parties or provide recommendations to them, either directly or indirectly, so that they can execute this kind of transactions.
  • As established by the Compliance Committee, the addressees are strongly discouraged to conduct—on their own behalf or on behalf of third parties—any transactions with bills, notes, bonds, or any other instruments issued by the BCRA. They are also persuaded against providing third parties with information or recommendations, either directly or indirectly, on this kind of transactions, and on short-term transactions with securities, bonds or any other financial instruments for speculative purposes.

Se considera privilegiada, aquella información de carácter concreto y relevante para la toma de decisiones relacionadas con la celebración y ejecución de las operaciones bancarias, financieras y cambiarias que se encuentre sujeta a reserva o que, no estándolo, no haya sido dada a conocer al público y que una persona obtiene en virtud de sus funciones antes que otras personas y que el mercado en general. Con el fin de evitar que, en razón de su labor, los destinatarios de este Código utilicen información privilegiada en provecho de ellos mismos o terceros se establecen las siguientes reglas de conducta:

  • Está prohibido el uso de información privilegiada para beneficio propio o de un tercero.
  • Está vedado el suministro de información privilegiada a un tercero que no tenga derecho a recibirla conforme a las disposiciones legales.
  • Deberán abstenerse de realizar cualquier operación en el mercado en su provecho directamente o por un intermediario- utilizando información privilegiada, y de informar o dar recomendaciones directa o indirectamente a terceros para realizar ese tipo de operaciones.
  • Deberán abstenerse de permitir el libre flujo de información privilegiada entre las diferentes áreas de la Institución, salvo que exista la correspondiente legitimación, razones fundadas y atribuciones funcionales suficientes respecto de su destinatario o solicitante para hacerlo y en la medida que tal comunicación no viole la legislación y se realice por canales oficiales.
  • Deberán abstenerse de efectuar operaciones con acciones o cualquier otro instrumento representativo de capital social de entidades reguladas y/o fiscalizadas por el Banco, por cuenta propia o de terceros, y de informar o dar recomendaciones directa o indirectamente a terceros para realizar ese tipo de transacciones.
  • En relación a lo dispuesto en el primer párrafo de este apartado se consideran, conforme lo establezca el Comité de Cumplimiento, operaciones especialmente desaconsejables para los destinatarios a los que resulta de aplicación, las operaciones por cuenta propia o de terceros, con letras, notas, bonos o cualquier instrumento emitido por el Banco Central de la República Argentina y/o informar o dar recomendaciones directa o indirectamente para realizar ese tipo de transacciones como así también las operaciones o negociaciones a corto plazo, con fines especulativos, sobre cualquier título, valor o instrumento financiero.
5. Relationship with the Media. Conferences and/or Public Statements

Any information disclosed to any member of the public or upon the special request of the media of any publications, statements, lectures and conferences given, for instance, in courses, workshops, or training activities regarding the missions or duties of the BCRA shall be subject to the express authorization of the Deputy General Manager or the Senior Manager to whom the addressee ultimately reports to. Any request for authorization by a Deputy General Manager, a Senior Manager, or the General Manager shall be submitted to the General Management Office, the Superintendent or the Governor, as the case may be.

The authorization granted by the Senior Management Office for Communications shall be necessary in all cases.

Additionally, addressees shall refrain from:

  • a) Making statements, or posting any personal opinions on the BCRA's social networks as far as they may be construed as official comment.
  • b) Making statements, posting institutional information and/or audiovisual records on social networks that could discredit, adversely affect or jeopardize the institutional image of the BCRA or its property.

Any information—other than that related to the duties or services rendered to this institution—that addressees may disclose on any media shall be considered as personal opinion and must not make any reference to the Institution’s name.

6. Gifts

The addressees shall reject, on account of their duties or in the course of their work, any presents, gifts, donations, benefits, or rewards consisting of goods or services. Neither are they entitled to accept any goods transferred by a contractor or supplier of works, goods, or services whose activities are regulated and/or supervised by the BCRA or by any natural or legal persons who expect the BCRA to make a decision or take an action in their interest or else to refrain from making a decision or taking, delaying or neglecting to take an action that could significantly act against their interests.

In this context, presents, gifts, donations, benefits, or rewards are considered to be received by addressees on account of their duties—bearing in mind that any such presents, gifts, donations, benefits, or rewards would have not been offered if the addressees had not held a position or carried out duties as a member of the staff.

The following exceptions apply:

  • a) Gifts received as a diplomatic courtesy. Gifts, benefits or any acknowledgments received from governments, international organizations, or non-for-profit organizations for cultural and/or conventional reasons. When the value of a gift exceeds the amount of four (4) procurement units as provided for in Annex I of the Procurement Rules of the BCRA, it shall not be deemed personal property but shall become part of the BCRA’s property. Furthermore, when the gift received has institutional value for it represents a bond with the giver, it shall become part of the BCRA’s property.
  • b) Travel and accommodation expenses paid for by governments, institutions, or non-for-profit organizations, which the addressees may incur for giving or participating in conferences, courses or academic and/or cultural activities, provided that their participation in such conferences, courses or academic and/or cultural activities i) does not clash with their duties, ii) is not forbidden by special rules, and iii) is properly authorized.
  • c) Expenses for working events such as meals or other charges incurred as a result of legitimate representation duties. In all cases, the goods or services falling within these exceptions shall be included in a specific record.
7. Incompatibility of Office

Addressees shall comply with all provisions in force regarding incompatible offices. Thus, they are forbidden to carry out any activities expressly classified as incompatible by law and/or the internal regulation; additionally, they may not hold any other paid position within the national, provincial or local sector, notwithstanding the exceptions set and governed by special regimes.

In this regard, addressees shall conform to the provisions set forth in the Law on Ethics for Government Officials (Law No. 25,188, Sections 13 through 17), in the Code of Ethics for Government Officials (Executive Order No. 41/99, Sections 41 and 44), in the Regulations on Dual Mandate, Accumulation of Functions and/or Pensions in Public Administration (Régimen sobre Acumulación de cargos, funciones y/o pasividades de la Administración Pública) (Executive Order No. 8566/61) and in the Central Bank of Argentina's Staff Internal Regulations (Section 12 (6) and Section 14 (1), (2) and (3)) or any other provision that may supersede or amend them in the future.

Furthermore, addressees shall inform the work and/or professional activities they are conducting together with the regular working hours and/or amount of time devoted, at the start of the employment relationship with the BCRA. They are further required to update such information, if changes happen during their labor agreement.

8. Conflicts of Interest
8. Conflicts of Interest

Addressees shall act objectively—i.e., they shall refrain from both exerting any kind of influence that could affect their stance of impartiality when taking decisions; and from getting involved in any conflict of interest (defined as any situation in which addressees hold private or personal interests that may influence the objective criteria necessary to perform their duties). Private or personal interests are defined as any kind of benefit for the addressees, their family members, friends or acquaintances.

At work, addressees may not supervise—directly or indirectly–a family member (holding office within the same Deputy General Management Office or Senior Management Office in such cases where the latter does not report to a Deputy General Management Office). If two addressees in a supervisor-subordinate relationship became family members while working for the BCRA, one of them shall be reassigned. In case of doubt, addressees should ask for the advice of the Compliance Committee.

8.1. Excuse Cases

Addressees shall excuse themselves in the following cases:

  • a) Under any of the causes provided by law.
  • b) In any procedure where their involvement may lead to construing partiality and/or incompatibility of office.
  • c) When getting involved in the procedure may prove to be inappropriate.
  • 9. Proper Use of Resources of the BCRA

    Addressees shall safeguard the properties of the BCRA and prevent non-authorized third parties from using them.

    Any labor resources consisting of IT systems and telephony, as well as facilities—irrespective of their nature—are made available for addressees to fulfill their duties. Addressees shall make the best possible use of work time to fulfill their duties.

    10. Affidavitss

    Notwithstanding the financial affidavit that BCRA's officials are required to submit on account of their position, the Compliance Committee shall determine if other officials (those excluded on account of their position) shall anyhow file them before the Anti-Corruption Office. This may happen where officials manage public funds, administer public or private property as decided by the National Public Administration, control the operation of regulated and/or controlled activities, are part of award committees for bidding, or are responsible for the purchase or reception of goods, or for granting licenses or authorizations.

    11. Compliance Regulation

    The provisions of this Code of Ethics are to be complied with by all addressees, and supplement the laws against corruption, the Law on Ethics for Government Officials, as regulated, the Code of Ethics for Government Officials, the Labor Contract Law (Ley de Contrato de Trabajo), the Central Bank of Argentina’s Staff Internal Regulations, and any other applicable laws, as amended, related to the BCRA’s labor relations or those that may supersede or amend them in the future.

    Any failure to comply with the obligations set forth in the Code of Ethics—notwithstanding the provisions included in the regulations mentioned above—shall be deemed an offense and punished as per the provisions in force.

    Annex | Compliance Committee

    I. Compliance Committee’s Duties

    The Compliance Committee shall:

    • 1. Participate in the implementation and construction of the Code of Ethics.
    • 2. Spread the guidelines of the Code, promoting a culture of internal compliance controls.
    • 3. Prepare a plan to raise awareness regarding ethics, which embraces training activities and material for the addressees.
    • 4. Propose the BCRA's Board to update the Code of Ethics as dictated hereby or as a result of new regulations.
    • 5. See to and attend addressees’ inquiries that could arise from the construction of the Code.
    • 6. Participate in all reports filed by addressees on any non-compliance with the provisions of the Code. In cases where Board members, Receivers, or Advisors are involved, the Compliance Committee shall submit the report to the Board of Directors’ Secretariat for consideration.
    • 7. Circulate among addressees the reports that, on account of their topic, could be of general interest, provided that the identity of the people making the inquiry is not revealed or cannot be inferred.
    • 8. Keep a record of presents received as diplomatic courtesy.
    • 9. Make any recommendations it may deem necessary in order to ensure compliance with the pertinent rules.
    • 10. Inform the General Audit about any behavior that could be subject to an administrative probe as under the provisions of the Central Bank of Argentina’s Staff Internal Regulations.
    • 11. Act as liaison agent with the Anti-Corruption Office in cases that, according to Law No. 25,188, must be dealt with by such office given its capacity as enforcement authority. The Compliance Committee shall be supported by the BCRA’s areas it may deem fit to perform its duties.

    II. Powers

    According to the powers vested on the Committee, it may:

    • a) Gather information it may deem useful to process any issue submitted for its consideration;
    • b) Ask for addressees’ cooperation;
    • c) Refer to other agencies or institutions where the issue in question so requires on account of its specific nature or technical characteristics.