Multi agency collaboration is intrinsically linked with stronger enforcement and investigations outcomes. With the number of professionals in regulatory roles growing each year, resource management is becoming a greater issue.
Collaboration can enhance the efficiency of investigations and result in better enforcement outcomes. The advantages of aligning national and international players are widely known, but engaging a broader set of players across the landscape is a challenge we’re still fighting to overcome.
Valerie Griswold, Executive Director for Compliance and Enforcement at Fair Trade NSW, believes one of the main roadblocks preventing effective collaboration is the restriction on data exchange.
“Sharing data is clearly number one in my book, straight off the top. I’m lucky from my standpoint because I have a specific permission within my role with Fair Trading which allows me to disseminate data to basically any agency who’s doing its job from an enforcement standpoint.
“You can’t know what you don’t know, and if you can’t know it you can’t do anything about it.”
A survey of more than 250 experts and leaders of financial institutions indicated that regulatory divergence costs between 5-10% of their annual revenue.
It’s also estimated the variance in international financial regulation alone costs the global economy $780 billion annually.
The other barrier Ms Griswold points to is regulators’ historical failure to innovate; “We do it as we’ve always done it.”
Any change is a time consuming process in government. Regulators conceptualise new rules and regulations in response to market developments, then drafting new rules takes months or years before they’re even presenting a draft for initial comment.
This is also true of the United States, who also embrace state and provincial based legislation rather than single government or national regulatory models.
There are, however, stark differences in the role government serves and how it is perceived by consumers.
Ms Griswold has an extensive background in regulation, beginning in the United States where she served as a Deputy District Attorney with the Orange County California District Attorney’s Office, and later Senior Deputy DA and Head of the Environmental Crimes Unit.
“There is a much greater expectation on government here, I think the public expectations are quite significantly higher,” Ms Griswold says.
“In America it’s much more of a dog-eat-dog type of regulatory environment in that if you get scammed, too bad, we’re not a nanny state (even though I hate that term).
“There are a lot more protections for consumers here in Australia, more of a safety net and there’s also the expectations from the public that the government will be there for them and assist them with these things – sometimes for absolutely no cost. Other times it can be something that’s raised in the media, then there’s a call for government to address this problem.
“And I really think that’s quite different in America where those sort of safety nets and the public expectation of governmental care or support simply aren’t there and, even if they were, it wouldn’t be much.
“There’s more public trust in government, that government will do something about bad behaviour within the confines and frameworks of various agencies and it’s also far more likely that something will be done to address specific concerns of the public.”
Valerie Griswold is leading a workshop in Canberra, February 2020, covering ‘how to strengthen multi-agency investigations & enforcement’. The session will feature her insights from an international regulatory perspective and attendees will gain strategies and tools to navigate the logistics of multi-agency collaboration including resource allocation.
The 3rd Enhancing Investigations & Enforcement Outcomes conference is running in Canberra from 24 – 27 February. The event will explore innovative methods to strengthen investigations and practical solutions to maximise regulatory outcomes in a multi-agency environment.