The UK’s most senior fraud fighter has said he will call more accountants to
the discussion table as record levels of corruption are exposed by the economic
Richard Alderman, the head of the
Serious Fraud Office, told
Accountancy Age that the department would be widening the scope of
discussions to include advisers outside the UK’s biggest practices.
Alderman is taking action after an overseas corruption clampdown by the
Ministry of Justice.
‘Big firms will be advising the very large corporates on this issue, but I’m
also very interested in the smaller corporates and the advisers who will be
advising them because I think they have a key role. I’m very much in favour of
reaching out to them in order to be able to help them with that.’
Alderman’s vow comes after KPMG’s latest fraud study, released this week,
reported the highest level of fraud in the report’s 21-year history.
‘I’m interested in how advisers play that essential role in being able to
talk to boards of corporates about what the new law means, what sort of
procedure the corporations need to have in place and how they are going to be
able to comply with the legislation and make sure they have a really strong
Under Alderman’s watch, the SFO is trying to market itself as, and become more
of, a deterrent than a reactive force by raising its public profile with an
advertising campaign – the first time the organisation has taken such steps.
He added he was confident that the department could remain independent after the
scandal of aerospace giant BAE, which saw the SFO ordered to drop its
investigation by the government.
‘I said at a very early stage, when I was asked that question, I will do what is
right for the criminal justice system. I have held to that and that will be a
key because the public expect independence and that is what I expect to do in
my role,’ Alderman said.
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