Glaxo Dismissal, India Gold, Shanghai Link: Compliance

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GlaxoSmithKline Plc dismissed an executive from its African consumer health-care division for refusing to submit to a performance plan that was initiated a week after he reported alleged racial discrimination to a confidential integrity hotline, company documents obtained by Bloomberg show.

The executive, who was fired on Oct. 3, filed a 17-page report on Aug. 28 to the compliance department through a Web portal, alleging that Glaxo’s South Africa consumer health-care division, its most profitable unit on the continent, was a “white island” and restricted black staff from being appointed to senior management positions.

Only one of the 21 top managers in the unit is black, the executive said in the report. He asked not to be identified because he’s seeking to be reinstated.

Glaxo “encourages people to speak up if they have any concerns without reprisal,” the company said in an e-mailed response to questions Nov. 27, declining to comment on the documents or the dismissal. The company immediately began an internal investigation, which is ongoing, and will act if areas are identified for improvement, it said in the statement.

The performance management program was an effort to “retain him successfully” and not force the employee out, Jonathan Girling, vice president in charge of Africa, said in the documents.

The company informed the executive he would be placed on a formal performance plan on Aug. 15, a week before he filed the compliance alert, Glaxo said in a separate e-mail Nov. 28.

“The manager responsible for his dismissal was not made aware of the allegations at any point throughout the performance process,” Glaxo said.

Compliance Policy

India Eases Gold Import Restrictions to Remove Trade Distortions

India, the world’s second-biggest user of gold, eased regulations on imports to remove distortions in shipments and curb smuggling.

Rules requiring importers to sell 20 percent of their shipments to jewelers for re-export as jewelry, known as the 20:80 rule, were withdrawn effective immediately, the Reserve Bank of India said Nov. 28.

Loosening restrictions on supplies entering the country will improve stocks for jewelers, lower procurement costs and help contain illegal trade in the metal. Gold imports in India, which accounted for 25 percent of the total global demand, plunged last year when the government imposed curbs to narrow a record current-account deficit and stop a slump in the rupee.

Concerns about the current-account deficit remain and the industry worries that the government may try to control gold imports in a different way, Bachhraj Bamalwa, a director at the All India Gems & Jewellery Trade Federation, said by phone from Kolkata.

Compliance Action

Luxembourg Fund Gets First Approval for Shanghai Stock Link

Luxembourg, home to equity funds with about $1.2 trillion of assets, gave its first approval to trade through the Shanghai-Hong Kong exchange link as international investors seek greater access to Chinese shares.

Luxembourg’s financial regulator granted the authorization to a fund Nov. 27, Patrick Hommel, a member of the secretariat general at the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier, said in an e-mailed reply to questions without naming the beneficiary. Funds domiciled in the country that aren’t yet invested in the Chinese market should refrain from using the link until they get regulatory approval, he said.

Overseas money managers have been working to complete trading and compliance systems since Chinese authorities gave them a week’s notice for the program’s start date on Nov. 17.

The Hong Kong Investment Funds Association has been working with the industry to meet regulatory requirements, said Sally Wong, the group’s chief executive officer.

Comings and Goings

HSBC’s Thomson Resigned Amid Concerns Over BOE Rules, Flint Says

Alan Thomson, a director at HSBC Holdings Plc’s U.K. unit, left the lender in October partly because of “incremental concerns” regarding tougher regulation over senior bankers, Chairman Douglas Flint said in a letter responding to lawmakers’ questions.

Thomson’s resignation “related primarily to his overall work burden, while reflecting the ‘‘greater time commitment now demanded from expanded regulatory expectations of bank non-executive directors,’’ Flint wrote in the e-mailed response to Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the Treasury Select Committee. John Trueman, deputy chairman of the U.K. arm, has no plans to resign, Flint said. Sky News on Oct. 7 reported Thomson’s resignation, saying Trueman is on the verge of departing.

The Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority plans to introduce rules in 2015 that could force senior bankers to pay back bonuses as long as seven years after they’re awarded if employees are found to have exceeded risk limits or broken financial-conduct rules. Under the supporting legislation, a person could be jailed for as many as seven years for ‘‘reckless misconduct” that results in bank failure.

“Trueman expressed strong concerns over the possibility of significantly increased liabilities for non-executive directors,” saying he would “not be able to accept these, even if that meant he would have to step down,” Flint wrote.