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South African Reserve Bank

Dr Gerard Rissik 

TERM SERVED IN OFFICE: 1 July 1962 – 30 June 1967

Following a chance meeting on the street with Deputy Governor
H.C. Jorissen, Dr Rissik decided to apply for a position at the Bank and was appointed as a junior clerk on 3 March 1923. He enrolled at the extramural division of the Transvaal University College for a B.Com. degree in order to qualify himself in his chosen career. The Bank’s Annuals show that in 1924 he was also preparing for examinations of the Institute of Bankers in South Africa. In 1925 he obtained his Final Bankers Diploma and his B.Com. Degree in 1926. Later he passed the Final Diploma of the Chartered Institute of Secretaries and an advanced course in Auditing at the University of South Africa.
Dr Rissik’s progress in the Bank was steady. On 1 July 1933 he was promoted to Audit Clerk and at the beginning of 1939 he was promoted to Assistant Secretary. Four and a half years later he was made Chief Accountant and Secretary and on 1 October 1954 he succeeded L J Cockhead as Chief Cashier (at that time a post equivalent to a General Manager). As of 1 January 1958 he was appointed Executive Assistant to the Governor. After the introduction of the second Deputy Governor post in 1960, Dr Rissik was promoted to this new position as from 1 May 1960. On 1 July 1962 he succeeded Dr M.H. de Kock as Governor of the Bank. He retired from the Bank at the end of his term on 30 June 1967.
During his career at the Bank Dr Rissik served as the first Secretary of the National Finance Corporation until 1954. He was a member of the Technical Committee on Banking and Building Society Legislation, which from 1961 to 1964 undertook an in-depth study of the position of banking and the building society movement in South Africa. In 1958 he was appointed Chairman of the newly created South African Bank Note Company, where he did pioneering work and remained in this position until shortly after his retirement. From 1958 onwards he was a member of a committee of the Department of Agriculture, (representing the Bank and Treasury) which investigated certain aspects of agricultural credit. He also represented the Bank for some years on the Export Credit Guarantee Insurance Scheme and during his term as Governor served as Chairman of the National Finance Corporation.
In 1960 and again in 1964 Dr Rissik served as President of the Institute of Bankers. After his admission as an Associate of the CIS (Chartered Institute of Secretaries) in 1936, he was elected a Fellow in 1945. In 1950 he became a member of the South African Board of the CIS and in 1954 and 1955 served as Chairman of this Board. In 1962 he was made Life Member of the Board of the CIS. In 1964 the University of Pretoria conferred a D.Com. (honoris causa) degree upon him. From 1967 to 1971 he was a member of the Council of the University of Pretoria and in 1965 he became Chairman of the University’s Fundraising Committee.
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