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Karen Chang to leave the Financial Markets Authority to become CEO of the Serious Fraud Office

Business / news
Karen Chang to leave the Financial Markets Authority to become CEO of the Serious Fraud Office

The Financial Markets Authority’s (FMA) former Head of Enforcement, Karen Chang, has been appointed Serious Fraud Office (SFO) Director and Chief Executive.

Chang will begin her four-year term at the SFO on April 26. She will replace Julie Read, who has been at the helm of the SFO since 2013.

Deputy Public Service Commissioner Helene Quilter said Chang is a "proven leader in the field of financial crime law enforcement and has worked closely with the SFO on a number of investigations".

Chang is currently Acting General Counsel at the FMA - a role she has held since November 1. During the four years prior, she was Head of Enforcement.

Quilter said this role saw Chang lead a “range of complex, high-profile criminal, and civil proceedings, several of which were the first of their kind in New Zealand. These included criminal prosecutions involving investor fraud, insider trading, and Ponzi schemes and civil pecuniary proceedings for breach of capital markets trading misconduct.”

As Acting General Counsel at the FMA, Chang leads the policy and governance, corporate legal, investigations and enforcement functions for the FMA. 

Prior to joining the FMA, Chang was a Senior Crown Prosecutor at Meredith Connell. She prosecuted a range of trials involving serious criminal offending including fraud, theft and financial reporting offences on behalf of the FMA and the SFO.

Earlier in her career, she was a commercial and regulatory litigation lawyer in private practice in Auckland, Sydney and New York.

Quilter said Chang has a clear vision for the role of the SFO and how to position it for the future.

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There are still little old ladies, and others who should know better, getting ripped off by professed tradesmen who insist on being paid a deposit upfront, or, in some cases, the whole payment in advance.

Never ever do this!

It is fair enough to pay a well-established company a reasonable deposit for the intended larger-scale work e.g. getting new kitchen cabinet doors or a full internal paint job.  But you should never have to prepay any plumber or electrician any upfront if the jobs only going to take a few hours.

If you are going to embark on a bigger project like fencing or decking where many dubious characters abound then start looking for the right people months in advance by asking relatives or neighbours, particularly those in the street that are getting similar work done.

If you get ripped off by these people then the Serious Fraud Office will be of no help.

And if you've invested in a ponzi scheme or a fraudulent finance company then you probably won't get much of your investment back unless the finance company operates in an area where those that are 'burnt' are known to be supporters of the Government who is in power at the time.   A good example of the latter is where the National Government of the day repaid with taxpayers' money every Canterbury Finance investor who had invested in the collapsed  ponzi scheme.  So, the Serious Fraud Office was not needed in this situation.  

So, we are all waiting with bated breadth to see if the Serious Fraud Office can actually achieve anything useful for society and pay its way.




what a fantastic career she is having ! she must be a very clever and talented woman. I'd love to meet her.