AUTHOR: Valerie Carlson
DATE: January 5, 2022
How to better protect businesses after COVID-19
How do we better protect businesses after the pandemic?
As businesses continue to face the worst challenge in a century and hurry to protect themselves from risks suddenly created by a new variant of COVID-19, two trusted experts offer an exclusive insight into how organisations can stay safe from another virus: economic crime.
Sir David Green CB QC is the incoming chair of the Fraud Advisory Panel charity, taking the helm from David Clarke who steps down as a volunteer trustee after 12½ years. Their know-how about protecting people spans 80 years between them. Talking together for the first time, they compare notes on the past and present and introduce what they see as the big challenges for the post pandemic, big data world and the best way to stay safe.
Speaking of the impact fraud has on society, Sir David describes the financial losses as being ‘vast’ and increasingly sophisticated. Exploiting the trust the older generation has in officialdom is one of the latest trends. He described a family member who was very nearly victim to a phone fraud adding, “Their reaction has been to feel foolish – as if it was their fault for being gullible – which of course, it’s not”. Thus, helping the public understand the latest fraud risks and the best and worst practices to stay safe is more important than ever. Sharing best practice is a crucial part of the Panel’s role, in addition to trying to influence anti-fraud policy and law reform.
Increasing trust is the other hot take-away that immediately leaps from their advice. “Creating a culture where it is safe to trade and where people and systems are verified is vital because it promotes trust” David Clarke told me. “Trust creates the life-long business relationships that are proven to get results, reduce risk and help make a company recession-proof” he added. He wants to help create a society where honesty is encouraged and rewarded and says, “It’s somehow become okay to cheat and steal and lie. We must reverse this trend”.
“It’s somehow become okay to cheat and steal and lie. We must reverse this trend.”David Clarke
Looking to the future, they tell of the need to know what the true threat is, where it’s coming from and who is behind it. Sir David says more resources should now be put into protecting the UK and recovering stolen money and to focus investment on developing intelligence and data-analytical capabilities to help law enforcement investigate and get money back.
Organised groups are often behind large-scale cases and involve push-payments and Sir David says, “The only way to get at them is by serious data analysis to enable understanding of the networks and the money flows.” adding, “Policymakers need to be influencing the banks and financial institutions who control this data”.
Digital transformation and new technology must also provide extra safeguards so as to make the online world safer. The era of the metaverse – the combination of the physical and virtual worlds – is already here and making big changes to the way we will live and work according to David Clarke. He has a lifelike avatar, a digital twin that quickly turns his words into speech in many languages to make multilingual training videos. He says new AI-powered machine learning technologies like these are already helping to keep people safe and will be a force for good.
The big improvement Mr. Clarke wants to see is a guarantee that there are safeguards in place to save ethical businesses if another 2008-style financial crisis hits. This is because corporate debt levels are now much bigger and you can imagine what could happen if systemic fraud was suddenly discovered in a big business or financial firm, and good companies further down the supply chain did not get paid.
The two Davids know there is one proven ingredient for keeping society safe in the future and that is unity. Creating partnerships and uniting amazingly talented people is a remarkable skill of the Panel and doing this internationally and in fast time as they did with the COVID-19 Fraud Watch is a big bonus. We wish Sir David and his team every success in their mission and thank David Clarke, our Head of Integrity for his many years of volunteering.
If you would like to access the free advice and learn about the latest activities of the Panel and how to become a member including exclusive offers for students, or want to make a donation to the charity, please visit their website by clicking here.