Hang Lung Group Limited and Hang Lung Properties Limited (the “Group”) is committed to establishing and maintaining best practices in corporate governance. All directors, employees and related third parties are expected to conduct themselves with integrity, impartiality and honesty.
The Whistleblowing Policy is designed to encourage all directors, employees and related third parties to raise serious concerns internally, without fear of reprisal or victimization, in a responsible and effective manner rather than overlooking a problem or blowing the whistle outside the Group’s reporting channels.
The purpose of this policy is to set out the Group’s policy on, and commitment to, whistleblowing and the protection of whistleblowers, and to provide details on how reports of improprieties can be made.
This policy applies to all directors and employees (full time and part time) of the Group and related third parties who have business dealings with the Group (e.g. consultants and contractors, vendors and suppliers, customers and tenants, as well as agents) (“Whistleblowers”).
3. Whistleblowing and Improprieties
“Whistleblowing” refers to an act where the Whistleblowers report concerns about any suspected or actual improprieties related to the Group. It is every employee’s responsibility and in all interest of the Group to ensure that any inappropriate behavior or organizational malpractice that compromise the interest of shareholders, investors, customers, directors, employees and the wider public does not occur.
“Improprieties” refers to behavior that is not in line with the Group’s principles and/or local jurisdictions where such behavior could constitute a misconduct, malpractice or irregularity that should be reported. Examples of improprieties include but are not confined to the following:
- Damaging the rights and interests of the Group;
- Breach of legal or regulatory requirements;
- Violation of Staff Handbook, Code of Conduct (applicable to staff) and/or Code of Conduct (applicable to relevant third parties), violation of the principle of integrity and breach of professional ethics;
- Endangerment of the health and safety of an individual;
- Any effort to mislead, deceive, manipulate or fraudulently influence any internal or external parties in connection with the preparation, examination, audit or review of any records of the Group including but not limited to financial statements, service contracts and personnel records; and
- Any use of the Group’s funds or property for any illegal, improper or unethical purpose.
4. Reporting Channels
Whistleblowers should inform the Head of Corporate Audit of the concerns about improprieties. Report of complaints should be made in writing addressing to the Head of Corporate Audit:
- By e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; or
- By mail: Head of Corporate Audit
Internal Audit Department
Hang Lung Properties Limited
28/F., Standard Chartered Bank Building,
4 Des Voeux Road Central, Hong Kong
If the complaint is against the Head of Corporate Audit, the report should be sent to the Chair of the Audit Committee.
While the Group does not expect the Whistleblower to have absolute proof or evidence of the irregularities reported, the report should show reasons for the concerns with full disclosure of any relevant details and supporting documentation.
Upon receipt of a formal written report from the Whistleblower, the Head of Corporate Audit would acknowledge receipt to the sender as soon as practicable.
5. Anonymous Reports
The Group respects that Whistleblowers may wish to file the report in confidence. However, an anonymous allegation will be more difficult for the Group to investigate effectively simply because the Group will not be able to obtain further information from the Whistleblower in order to make an adequate and proper assessment. Whistleblowers are encouraged to provide their identities and contact details so that they can be contacted for further information or evidence regarding the allegations.
6.1 The Head of Corporate Audit will assess every report received and decide if a full investigation is necessary. If an investigation is warranted, the Head of Corporate Audit will determine how the investigation should proceed, and assign designated staff to conduct the investigation. Experienced and skilled personnel from other relevant departments might be consulted if needed.
6.2 All whistleblowing cases and associated investigation works (if any) will be presented / submitted to the Investigation Panel (comprising unit heads from relevant corporate functions) for review to ensure that all complaints will be handled consistently, objectively and impartially.
6.3 For any substantiated case, the actions to be taken by the Group may include disciplinary action up to the termination of employment, as well as preventive actions and/or enhanced control measures in the future.
6.4 The format and the length of an investigation will vary depending upon the nature and particular circumstances of each complaint made. The matters raised may be investigated internally or referred to the relevant regulatory bodies such as the police, the securities regulator and any anti-corruption authority, as appropriate.
7. Confidentiality and Anti-retaliation
The Group will keep the Whistleblower’s identity confidential and only disclose to relevant parties on a need-to-know basis. However, if the report leads to an investigation by regulators or authorities, it may become necessary for the Whistleblower to provide evidence or be interviewed by the relevant regulators or authorities. The Whistleblower will be advised in advance if his/her identity may become apparent or needs to be disclosed to any external parties outside the Group. In order not to jeopardize the investigation, the Whistleblower is also required to keep confidential the fact that he/she has filed a report as well as the nature of concerns and the identities of those involved.
The policy is designed to offer protection to individuals who make complaints in good faith. Any Hang Lung employee or related third party raising genuine and appropriate concerns under this policy as a Whistleblower is assured of fair treatment, including where applicable, protection against unfair dismissal, victimization or unwarranted disciplinary action, even if the concerns turn out to be unsubstantiated.
8. False Reports
While the Whistleblowing Policy is meant to protect the Whistleblowers from any unfair treatment as a result of their report, it strictly prohibits frivolous and untrue complaints. All reports must be made in good faith. If it is found that the complaints have been raised frivolously, mischievously, maliciously or for personal gain, the Group reserves the right to take appropriate and commensurate actions against the Whistleblower to recover any loss or damage as a result of a false report. In particular, if the Whistleblower is an employee, he/she may face disciplinary action, including and not limited to dismissal or cessation of contracts, where appropriate. It is important that the Whistleblowers should exercise due care to ensure the accuracy of the information.
9. Record Retention and Policy Review
Records shall be kept for all reported improprieties by the Internal Audit Department. In the event a reported impropriety leads to an investigation, all relevant information relating to the case shall be retained, including details of corrective action taken, for a period as long as is considered necessary by the Internal Audit Department or such period as may be specified by any relevant legislation or authority. The Internal Audit Department is also responsible for performing regular reviews and updates of this Policy.