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18 January 2023

Bartier Perry launches new organisational fraud practice

This article was originally published by Lauren Croft for Lawyers Weekly (18 January 2023).

Bartier Perry has established a new practice to help organisations manage and prevent fraud from external forces and, more increasingly, internal forces.

In 2023, organisations will face an “intensifying two-front battle” against fraud and corruption, according to Bartier Perry partner Gavin Stuart, who will lead the firm’s new organisational fraud practice.

“Executives and boards focused on an enemy unseen in growing cyber attacks and scams may find their greatest risk sits within their organisation,” he warned.

“An uncertain economic outlook in the year ahead means many employees who are facing financial pressures due to rising mortgage payments, addiction, or even a side venture performing badly, will be tempted to turn to fraud or misappropriation.

“No organisation, be they a local council, charity, private family business or large company, will be immune from that risk.”

Mr Stuart said executives and company directors would come under immense pressure as attitudes to managing instances of fraud or corruption shifted.

“Regulators are becoming increasingly proactive in ensuring both appropriate disclosure and accountability for fraud or corruption, be it internal or external. The days of quietly paying the cyber ransom or pushing someone from accounts out the door for creating fraudulent invoices are at an end,” he said.

“Given both the legal and reputational implications for both organisations and their leaders, our view is that prevention of fraud and corruption will remain a top priority in 2023.”

The practice will focus on areas such as workplace, dispute resolution, property, taxation and insurance, with the firm partnering with external experts, including forensic accountants and crisis management consultants.

“People setting out to commit fraud are becoming more sophisticated, more persistent and increasingly shameless, so in both prevention and investigation, it is clear we need to offer clients a range of support backed by relevant expertise,” Mr Stuart added.

“Right now, the group is busy responding to fraudulent activity, but increasingly, our focus will be on working with clients to prevent them.”