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Legislation has provided for the establishment of an internal channel for reporting possible violations of the rules governing the Bank's activities.
The Ersel Group has defined, in line with industry regulations, a Whistleblowing Policy that allows the persons indicated in the following paragraph to report violations of which they are aware or which they suspect may be taking place. The reports will be handled in accordance with the Policy as summarised in the following points.

Who can report


All Group personnel are empowered to make reports. 

Personnel means: “employees and those who, in any case, operate on the basis of relationships that determine their inclusion in the company organisation, even in a form other than an employment relationship”, pursuant to Article 1(1)(h-novies) of the Consolidated Banking Law. 

The following can also make a whistleblowing report:

  • workers or collaborators who provide goods or services or perform work for third parties and work or have worked for the Group;
  • suppliers of goods and services;
  • freelancers and consultants who work or have worked for the Group;
  • volunteers and trainees (paid and unpaid);
  • shareholders (natural persons);
  • persons with administrative, control, supervisory or representative functions.
     

 
What can be reported


Violations of the Bank's external and internal regulations may be reported through the whistleblowing channels. In particular, unlawful conduct means any action or omission, occurring in the course of work activities, that may harm the public interest or the integrity of any Group company or its employees insofar as it is aimed at violating the regulatory provisions governing banking, financial and other regulations applicable to the sector.

The following is a list of some of the areas affected by the aforementioned regulations and consequently susceptible to reporting:

  • product portfolio management;
  • business planning and development;
  • management of customer contact channels;
  • typical banking services;
  • investment solutions;
  • services relating to collections and payments;
  • cash and valuables management;
  • other activities covered by the definition in Article 10(1), (2) and (3) of Legislative Decree 01/09/1993;
  • offences referred to in Legislative Decree 231/2001;
  • offences referred to in Legislative Decree 231/2007;
  • offences referred to in EU Regulation 596/2014.

It should be noted that certain other areas not covered by the regulations governing the sector are not included in the last point of the aforementioned list, and consequently cannot be reported within the scope of whistleblowing, including by way of example:

  • any organisational inefficiencies;
  • harassment/stalking;
  • grievances of a personal nature on the part of the whistleblower or requests relating to the discipline of the employment relationship or relations with hierarchical superiors or colleagues, for which reference should be made to the competent Personnel and Internal Communication Department.

The report must contain information concerning the name of the person(s) or reference(s) of the structure(s) allegedly responsible for the violation and a brief description of the alleged violation, with an indication of the circumstances of time and place in which the event that is the subject of the report occurred, also highlighting any third parties involved, aware of the facts or potentially harmed. To facilitate the handling of the report, all available supporting documentation should be attached.
 

How to make an internal report


The Group provides all the necessary resources to set up specific communication channels, autonomous and independent from ordinary reporting lines, aimed at collecting reports and the proper management of the related information flows.

The e-mail channel is addressed to all whistleblowers with the exception of employees (for whom a reserved channel has been provided). Reports can be made, using the address:

For employees, an IT procedure has been put in place for the management of whistleblowing systems identified in the “Comunica Whistleblowing” application , aimed at managing the activities related to the entire whistleblowing process, including the following:

  • possibility of using a voice mailbox;
  • anonymous information management;
  • protection of the whistleblower;
  • information to the whistleblower;
  • investigation phase following the report;
  • submission of attachments and documents.

Through the indicated channels, the whistleblower may request, with sufficient notice, a meeting in person with the Head of internal violation reporting systems.
 

Identity of the whistleblower


With reference to the possible disclosure of the identity of the whistleblower, the rules on internal violation reporting systems do not cover reports made anonymously in view of the fact that primary legislation requires that they may only be made by persons who have a qualified relationship with the Group .

In any case, anonymous reports should be recorded by the Head of internal reporting systems and the documentation received should be retained. Indeed, the Decree provides that if an anonymous whistleblower is subsequently identified and suffers from retaliation, they must be guaranteed the protections provided for whistleblowers.
 

Obligations of the whistleblower


The whistleblower is obliged to declare to the Head of internal violation reporting systems any private interest he/she may have connected with the actions or facts disclosed through the reports.
 

Protection of the whistleblower


The whistleblower shall not be subjected to retaliatory, discriminatory or in any case unfair conduct as a consequence of his/her reporting (by way of example: dismissal, demotion, mobbing, etc.) and shall also have the right, if deemed necessary, to request a transfer to another office. 

The Company undertakes to ensure, where reasonably possible, the fulfilment of the aforementioned transfer request.

The Company guarantees the confidentiality of the whistleblower and the confidentiality of the information received, except in cases where:

  • its disclosure is required by national law (e.g. if it is necessary because it is requested by the judicial authority or essential in order to ensure the defence of the reported person); 
  • its disclosure is necessary to prevent or reduce particularly serious harm to the health or safety of persons. 

Unauthorised disclosure of the identity of the whistleblower or of information contained in the report is strictly prohibited.

The protection measures also apply to facilitators and other persons in close contact (family and/or work-related) with the whistleblower in accordance with Legislative Decree No. 24/23.
 

Information to the whistleblower


The Company undertakes to inform the whistleblower, within the time limits set out in its internal policies, of the receipt and acceptance of the report, also ensuring that the whistleblower is informed, as soon as possible and regardless of the outcome of the checks carried out, of the developments in the procedure put in place, including the decision of the Head of the internal violation reporting systems to dismiss the report or forward the contents thereof for subsequent steps.
 

Information to the reported subject


In order to ensure the protection of whistleblowers and the proper conduct of whistleblowing proceedings, the Group Company in which the offence is alleged to have been committed shall inform the person to whom the report refers, by means of a meeting or registered letter, of the possible initiation of proceedings against him or her, compatibly with the need not to compromise the analysis and verification of the merits of the report and the collection of the evidence necessary for the proceedings. 

The Group company in which the offence was allegedly committed is not obliged to inform the person to whom the report refers if the report is dismissed.

Notes

The Group uses software produced and managed by UNIONE FIDUCIARIA, which is accessed via the Open intranet.

2 The concept of confidentiality of the whistleblower's identity must be clearly distinguished from anonymity: in this regard, the guidelines published by Confindustria on 27 October 2023, consider it necessary, for the purposes of admissibility of the whistleblowing report, for the identifying data of the whistleblower to be included, clarifying that “in the case, on the other hand, of receipt of anonymous reports, also in light of the ANAC indications, it is specified that, if they are punctual, circumstantiated and supported by appropriate documentation, they may be considered by the company equivalent to ordinary reports and, as such, may be processed in accordance with internal regulations.”


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