Editorial: Not your ordinary conference!

Published date18 April 2023
Date18 April 2023
Subject MatterAccounting & finance,Financial risk/company failure,Financial crime
AuthorG. Philip Rutledge
Editorial: Not your
ordinary conference!
As a longtime attendee of the Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime
(Symposium), Im often asked if it ever accomplishes anything. The answer is an emphatic
yesbut, to appreciateits contributions and their value, one must take the long view [1].
Over the past 40years, topics and ideas discussed at various Symposia oftenhave served
as a catalyst for changes in domestic law. However, when these changes take the form of
regulations or statutes, they generally are subject to relevant political, legislative and
executive processes. As a former nancial services regulator in the USA advocating for
change, I perhaps more than most, appreciate that it takes time, often years, to create and
educate sufcient coalitions of support to make the changes a political priority and the
change a statutory reality.
I posit that the Symposium has two objectives. First, the Symposium is an informal, nonpolitical
assembly of individuals from various cultures, systems of government and professions who seek
like-minded individuals who are concernedabout the corrosive effects of nancial crime on national
economies and civic institutions. Often, these individuals are responsible for the heavy liftingin
their respective agencies tasked with combatting nancial crime.
In this regard, the Symposium has served as an important venue whereby former
Eastern European Communist regimes could be exposed to democratic legal and judicial
systems. Developing countries can discuss how to prevent nancial crime, particularly in
the form of corruption, from undermining civil institutions that are key for continued
development and prosperity. To my thinking, the Symposium is a prime example of what
the British like to boast as their diplomaticsoft power.
The second objective is facilitating discussion of mutual concerns and development of
methods to address the ever changingnature of, and actors involved in, nancial crime. The
discussion and critical analysis that occurred over successive Symposia became the
foundation of what are now widely accepted methods used by governments to detect, deter
and combat nancial crime.
In my opinion, one of the more important concepts incubated by the Symposium is the
now widespread use of various forms of the civil law to address nancial crime. Whilst
criminal prosecutions are dependent on the discretion of prosecutors and meeting a high
burden of proof, the civil law can be tailoredto address specic problems, demands a lower
burden of proof of a preponderance of the evidence and can be exercised by a variety of
government actors. Also, civil law remedies of administrative and civil forfeiture and
disgorgement are bettersuited to a more expeditious recovery of the proceeds of crime.
The civil law also has been useful to give specialized government agencies powers to
impose meaningful sanctions outside the criminal justice system, particularly with respect
to errant participants in nancial markets. In this regard, Symposia participants have
advocated use of the civil law to impose monetary nes in civil and administrative
proceedings [2], bar individuals who have committed nancial crimes or misconduct from
serving as ofcers or directors of publiccompanies [3] and preventing individuals subject to
professional misconduct in nancial services in one jurisdiction from being licensed in
another [4]. In the USA, the civil law now addresses all these situations and US laws have
been amended to permit US government agencies to pursue civil enforcement of securities
anti-fraud laws on an extraterritorialbasis [5].
Journalof Financial Crime
Vol.30 No. 3, 2023
pp. 601-602
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/JFC-05-2023-302

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