SFO reform won’t make a difference without better resources
The UK political scene might have been in turmoil recently, but the drive to address financial wrongdoing in the country does not show signs of slowing down.
Enter the government’s new economic crime and corporate transparency bill. The bill is going through the Commons and, if enacted, would give the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) a considerable investigative tool, significantly increasing its powers by enabling it to compel third parties – including individual witnesses, suspects’ employers and other corporate entities such as financial institutions – to hand over materials and provide it with explanations at an earlier stage of its enquiries.
However, as Neil Swift and Diana Czugler write in FT Advisor, it remains to be seen how much advantage the embattled agency could take of any such new measures as it struggles for survival.