Mark Thompson rejoins KPMG as Special Advisor

22 August 2019 3 min. read

Mark Thompson has rejoined KPMG’s forensics practice, following a 15-year stint with the Serious Fraud Office. Thompson was most recently the Chief Operations Officer with the UK government department, which investigates and prosecutes serious or complex fraud and corruption in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The total value of fraud in the UK more than halved in the lead-up to 2019, plummeting from its record high in 2017. However, while value has fallen drastically, volume merely stagnated, and experts have warned that with only one in 50 cases of fraud being reported, the scale of financial loss could actually be far higher. 

In this environment, the forensics offerings of top consulting firms have seen their role become increasingly important, as many firms have engaged them to help stop the rot when it comes to corporate fraud. In order to bolster its forensics wing, Big Four firm KPMG has confirmed the appointment of seasoned expert Mark Thompson as a Special Advisor.

Mark Thompson - Special Advisor - KPMG

KPMG’s forensic practice is made up of a team of over 400 staff. The wing consists of accountants, investigators, economists, technology specialists, ex-law enforcement professionals and regulators who work with clients across a range of issues including fraud detection and prevention, business dispute, contract compliance, regulatory compliance and financial crime compliance. Thompson will take up his role aiding the practice in November, advising companies on the fight against fraud and the recognition of tax offenses.

Commenting on the appointment, Karen Briggs, UK Head of Financial Crime at KPMG said, “I am very pleased that Mark is returning to our Forensic team.  His 15 years of experience at the SFO dealing with top tier fraud and corruption cases will be a great addition to our growing investigations practice. He is the only non-lawyer to have been the Director of the SFO and that senior level experience will really enhance the service we will be able to provide to our clients.”

The move will constitute Thompson’s second spell with KPMG, having previously worked for KPMG prior to joining the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in 2004. In the 15 years since his departure, Thompson has held a number of different roles with the SFO, including being Head of Proceeds of Crime for four years, as well as taking up the position of Interim Director in 2018 following the departure of Sir David Green. Most recently, Thompson was Chief Operating Officer with the non-ministerial government department, with day-to-day responsibility for running the SFO under the current Director Lisa Osofsky.

Thompson stated, “This is a great opportunity for me to return to KPMG. I have been very privileged to hold various senior roles at the SFO, and it has been both challenging and enjoyable throughout. I wish all my colleagues at the SFO well as they continue their vital work. Economic crime is recognised as a major threat to the UK, and I look forward to helping KPMG and its clients tackle that threat when I take up my new role.”

The news comes as the SFO comes under significant internal pressure relating to its workplace culture. A report by Kevin McGinty, Chief Inspector of the Crown Prosecution Service, described “clear challenges” for the Serious Fraud Office, whose mixed performance has come under the spotlight. Staff are dissatisfied with the SFO as an employer, which according to the watchdog is hampered by neglectful management and unacceptable behaviour. The news comes despite the number of SFO office raids having recently spiked to its highest rate in years.