On the frontline: Rosalind Wright of the FAP

The former head of the Serious Fraud Office (she left barely a fortnight ago), Wright took over as the head of the Fraud Advisory Panel this week.

She replaces George Staple, who has been chairman of the FAP since its creation in 1998.

The FAP may be a less familiar – and daunting sounding – body than the SFO but it is no less important.

The panel is an independent body of volunteers from the law and accountancy, banking, insurance, commerce, regulators, the police, government departments and public agencies. Sponsored by the ICAEW, it aims to help both the public and private sectors fight back on fraud.

It now falls to Wright to build on the panel’s first five years. She will spearhead attempts to broaden its funding base and build on its work in tackling fraud within SMEs, challenging cybercrime and raising the attention given to tackling fraud in business, legal and accountancy courses.

With five years under her belt at the SFO – and as an independent member of the Strategic Board of the Office of Fair Trading – Wright is well equipped to take on the role. And she already has a view on the priorities of the FAP, which is based in the ICAEW’s Moorgate Place HQ.

‘I am very much looking forward to leading the panel in its work,’ she said when she was appointed last month. ‘The panel still has a substantial job to do in terms of alerting the public and business to the dangers of fraud and persuading government to make it a higher priority.’ What she didn’t say at the time was that she spoke from comparatively recent personal experience having had her credit card cloned by an opportunist last year.

Called to the bar in 1964, Wright practised as a barrister for five years.

Prior to taking up her post as director at the SFO in April 1997, she was between 1983 and 1987 head of the director of Public Prosecution’s fraud investigation group where her constituency covered the City of London.

And Wright personally? Married with three grown-up daughters, she lives in London. She’s down to earth and she is not afraid to call a spade a spade. And given that quality (again not always in evidence among senior members of the profession) her first job might be to address some of the panel’s more marketeering claims of itself.

For instance the panel claims to be dedicated to ‘a holistic approach and the long view’. Very eighties.

And it doesn’t stop there. The panel also says of itself that it was established in 1998 ‘through a public spirited initiative by the ICAEW’.

And, in case you are in any doubt, it ‘exists to challenge complacency and supply remedies’.

In terms of both fraud and language, there’s work to be done.

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