In September 2018, Lisa Osofsky delivered her first speech as the new Director of the UK Serious Fraud Office. In a wide-ranging speech she focused on three key areas:
- Increasing the SFO’s collaboration with UK agencies and agencies from other jurisdictions (and in particular, the NCA, HMRC, FCA and agencies from the US, France, Argentina, Canada and Australia) – both to investigate matters but also to resolve them. This ties in with the increasing international coordination that has been seen over the last twelve months in relation to settlements.
- Focusing on resolving cases by DPA/ monitorships where appropriate. The section of the speech in relation to DPAs is notable in that the Director seems to conflate the US and UK models in viewing an adequate procedures defence to a Section 7 offence as a factor in favour of achieving a DPA (rather than as a full defence to such an offence). The director stresses her knowledge and experience of monitorships and it appears likely that remediation of systems and controls and monitorships will be an increasingly important part of DPAs.
- Intelligent and cost-effective investigations using technology: The Director highlighted the increasingly large data volumes the SFO is dealing with and emphasised its focus on utilising artificial intelligence to investigate more efficiently and reach charging decisions (and ultimately trial) sooner. This resonates with the private and legal sector’s drive to use technology to scope and conduct investigations more effectively and more efficiently.