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03 Jan 2017

Claire Cross interviewed by Thomson Reuters Regulatory Intelligence

The BIG QUESTION: Claire Cross, Of Counsel, Corker Binning

Thomson Reuters Regulatory Intelligence speaks to important figures in the compliance and financial arena to hear their thoughts and discuss wider issues related to their fields. Today we talk to Claire Cross, Of Counsel, Corker Binning, specialising in all areas of white-collar fraud. She joined Corker Binning in November 2016. Prior to this, she acted as a senior lawyer at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), in the criminal prosecution team.

Which part of your job gives you the most satisfaction?

There are two aspects: first, the mental stimulation from solving complex problems for my clients; secondly, the knowledge that you are helping someone, who is often at that their most vulnerable, through procedures and legal concepts that must seem incomprehensible to them.

What part of your job gives you the most frustration?

Dealing with intransigent investigators. The majority of investigators I have come across are extremely good at their job and understand what they should be doing, but there is still a small minority that seem reluctant to bring themselves up to date with what is, and what is not, acceptable behaviour.

Dealing with these individuals can be extremely frustrating, especially when there is seemingly no attempt on their behalf to understand the importance of carrying out their duties properly, fairly and in line with what the law requires. Investigators investigate; they are not judge and jury. They should not be going out of their way to make life more difficult for those under investigation just because they can.

What are the most significant developments that you are concerned about, or you think the profession/industry should be concerned with?

For firms – the sustained attack by the FCA and Serious Fraud Office on legal professional privilege (LPP). Demanding that it should be waived in order to be seen as “co-operating” is leading to an erosion of LPP and is potentially denying corporate entities the right to take legal advice.

For individuals – the impact of the senior managers regime (SMR). Individuals who fall within the SMR need to be alert to their own responsibilities, and the very real possibility that their employers may not necessarily support them in the way they had envisioned, should the regulator come knocking.

What pearl of wisdom would you give to a budding compliance officer/MLRO?

Make time to understand how the business you are employed by actually works. It is essential to allow you to discharge your role and will assist you when interacting with individuals if you can demonstrate that you understand their frustrations and problems in applying your decisions to their everyday work.

What is the most amusing compliance anecdote that you have come across?

I couldn’t possibly comment! You see all types of things when you work for the regulator, but my lips are sealed.

What has been your greatest professional achievement?

Balancing my home and work life. To allow me to see daughter grow up while still leading on some of the most complex, difficult criminal and regulatory cases in the country.

What do you do to relax?

Going home to my family, putting on my pyjamas and reading a book and if that activity, or lack of it, should be accompanied by a glass of wine, so much the better.

Can you recommend a restaurant to us?

Fishworks in Marylebone. I love entering the restaurant through the fishmongers at the front and emerging into the wonderfully intimate setting behind. I’ve never had anything other than a first class meal here. It really is the best place for fish and seafood that I’ve come across.

This interview was originally published by Thomson Reuters Regulatory Intelligence and can be found here.

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