Reckitt Benckiser, the consumer goods giant behind brands such as Dettol and Durex, has been fined £539,800 by the City watchdog for failing to monitor share-dealing by its senior executives.
The Financial Conduct Authority castigated the company for “late and incomplete disclosure to the market of share dealings by two senior executives”. However, there is no suggestion that the executives traded on the basis of inside information or deliberately breached the rules.
Georgina Philippou, the FCA’s acting director of enforcement and market oversight, said: “Clear and timely disclosure of share dealings is an important way of ensuring that markets are fair and are seen to be fair. Reckitt Benckiser failed on a number of counts in relation to share dealing by two of its senior executives over a number of years. The FCA expects all listed companies to learn the lessons from this case and to ensure they have the right controls and training in place.”
The watchdog found weaknesses in the company’s systems and controls between July 2005 and October 2012, compounded by inadequate records and training, which left RB unable to properly monitor share dealings made on behalf of its senior executives by third parties.
When Reckitt became aware of the share dealing, it should have notified the market by the end of the next business day but it failed to do so.
The company settled early on in the investigation and received a 30% discount, without which the penalty would have amounted to £771,190.
Reckitt was among 13 of the world’s biggest consumer products companies that were fined by the French competition watchdog for price fixing in supermarkets in December. Its French subsidiaries were fined €121m (£92m) but it already made a provision in 2013.
The company recently spun off its US pharmaceuticals business, the heroin substitute specialist now known as Indivior.
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