The chancellor Gordon Brown revealed on Thursday in parliament that an accountant from the private sector would be sought to fill the post which is likely to become one of the most high profile in the fight against terrorism.
Brown also plans to make London an international clearing centre for intelligence and data on terrorist finances.
Candidates for the new post are likely to be sought among the ranks of the senior partners of the top ten firms and more likely to come from the Big Five.
Observers believe it will be a partner with a forensic or corporate recovery background. It will also be someone about to retire because government will be unable to afford the kind of salaries partners command while in mid career.
Hugh Mathew-Jones, a partner in the forensic services department at PKF, said: ‘It will have to be someone with good presentation skills because of all the media attention.’
‘It will be an attractive position in terms of profile but I’m not sure how attractive it will be in terms of getting things done,’ he added.
The chancellor made a point of saying the unit, to be part of the National Criminal Intelligence Service, should be headed by someone from the private sector because of the skills needed to get things moving quickly.
That said other experts believe the candidate will also need enormous diplomatic skills and international contacts.
Chris Dickson, executive council of the Accountants’ Joint Disciplinary Scheme, said: ‘Money laundering is an international business and the job will depend on being able to pull in assistance from law enforcement people all round the world.’
‘There will be tremendous pressure.’
NCIS said recruitment has already begun to staff the new terrorist finance unit.
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