UAE Exchange’s former legal head joins Roche unit

Mandakini Sharma, former associate director and legal chief at remittance and foreign exchange firm UAE Exchange Financial Services Ltd, has joined as the head of the compliance division at Roche Diabetes Care India Pvt Ltd, a local arm of Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche Holding AG. 

Sharma’s responsibilities include overseeing regulatory filings, a person familiar with the development said, asking not to be named.

An email query to Roche Diabetes Care and Sharma did not elicit any response by the time of filing this report. Sharma’s LinkedIn profile shows she took up her new assignment in October.

Sharma is an alumnus of Campus Law Centre, University of Delhi, and Indian Law Institute. She has specialised in intellectual property rights and cyber law. 

She started her career with law firm DK Rastogi & Co, after which she joined Virmani & Virmani before moving to SC Ladi & Co, Advocates and Solicitors in 2008. Thereafter, she moved to HDFC Life, where she was the zonal manager for the legal and compliance department, before shifting to UAE Exchange.

A senior executive from one of her previous organisations described Sharma as innovative in her approach, adaptable to change, result oriented and a good team player.

Roche Diabetes Care offers a self-testing kit Accu-Chek, which monitors blood glucose and offers a diabetes management system.

Pharmaceutical companies typically spend heavily on legal and compliance due to stringent regulations as well as to protect their product portfolio from copycats. 

Drugmaker Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd was the biggest spender on legal and compliance among listed companies in 2015-16 with total expenses amounting to Rs 1,895.72 crore. Hospital chain operator Fortis Healthcare (Rs 848 crore) and drugmaker Lupin Ltd (Rs 533.74 crores) were also among the top 10 spenders.

Companies across industries have realised that the cost of not complying is expensive in terms of penalties, and hence many are eager to fill compliance posts, said Suhas Tuljapurkar, director of Legasis Services Pvt Ltd, a boutique compliance and consulting firm. 

Stricter laws such as the new Companies Act 2013, new accounting norms as well as laws to check bribery and sexual harassment of women at workplace have also compelled companies to take compliance seriously.

“In India, there is huge demand for compliance jobs. But due to an absence of compliance academies, there is generally a lack of skilled compliance professionals,” Tuljapurkar said. In some instances, companies have filled the post with non-legal personnel with some training, he added.

Apart from Roche Diabetes, cash management company CMS Infosystems and IDFC Alternatives have recently hired compliance heads. Last month, CMS appointed Jaya Guliani to lead its legal arm. In October, IDFC Alternatives hired Vinod Joseph from Brand Capital, the ad-for-equity investment arm of Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd, to look after legal and compliance functions.

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