UK: Helping You Manage An Investigation Or Crisis

Last Updated: 22 July 2012
Article by Jon Wall

Whether you are a company, an individual, family office or state entity that wishes to improve internal controls, or respond to a crisis event or implement an internal investigation, we can devise a strategy to manage the process.

It may involve employee fraud, financial loss or weakness in corporate or operational controls that risk reputational damage. Such events if handled wrongly can erode shareholder value or irreparably damage directors and an entity's reputation.

Obtaining professional advice or appointing an independent review body in times of crisis is a prudent defensive strategy that can provide essential distance and deflect criticism from directors. Implementing an investigation and taking pro-active steps can avoid or minimise the involvement of regulators. Using a solicitor often enables documents created during the course of an investigation to be protected by "legal professional privilege" and to remain confidential, preventing harmful disclosure.

We have designed our Investigate + service to guide you through such challenges providing directors, state entities and individuals with the reassurance that they have expert and independent support.

Key features - Investigate +

  • Find out what happened, and determine the steps that need to be taken to manage the situation and improve internal corporate controls.
  • We become appointed as an independent third party to undertake an internal investigation, and to report to the board on our findings. This has advantages over any internal audit review as we have independence from the company and maintain strict duties of confidentiality.
  • Our investigation work is typically governed by 'legal professional privilege' which provides important protection against enforced disclosure of damaging and confidential documents. Without a solicitor's involvement internal confidential company documents could fall into the public domain as part of a later regulatory investigation or litigation.
  • We have significant experience of conducting investigations and of interviewing staff, and understand the sensitivities involved. We can advise upon suspending document retention policies and securing evidence, including information held electronically on mobile devices. We will devise an appropriate strategy to suit the circumstances in accordance with your requirements.
  • If required, our work can extend to a review of accounting or computer records, and analysis and imaging of company computers, balancing data protection requirements. We work with approved forensic accountants, corporate investigators and IT analysts to uncover information that may be hidden.
  • Clients benefit from a co-ordinated approach and discounted rates agreed with these partner firms knowing that any investigation is impartial and lawful.
  • We have a specialist reputation management team that can advise on handling the media to minimise reputational damage. We also have a strong employment team who can advise regarding employment issues.
  • We are happy to agree a staged fee approach to any work that we undertake.

Additional features

  • If required, we can make clear recommendations or devise a strategy for improved corporate governance, or provide regulatory advice regarding financial services compliance, competition law, money laundering, bribery and corruption policies.
  • Should any reports need to be made to the Board or regulator, we can draft and prepare such reports and liaise with regulators to minimise any impact.
  • In appropriate cases, Investigate + can be combined with our Fraud + service product in order to identify, preserve and recover any assets that may have been misappropriated as part of fraudulent activity.

Preventing a crisis

Preventing a crisis and issues arising in the first place is the best cure. We can help you devise an effective strategy to minimise the risk of being a victim of fraud and corruption. Consider the following to avoid problems arising: - Our team can work with you to create an internal education program to enable your staff to become more aware of situations that may expose your company to fraud, or to highlight bribery and corruption issues.

  • We can design bespoke seminars to educate your staff on the latest legislation that may affect them. For example, under The Bribery Act 2010, corporate gift giving and corporate hospitality may give rise to potential allegations of corruption.
  • Do you have appropriate insurance to protect against loss? Directors and Officers (D&O) insurance can protect management, whilst Fidelity insurance can protect against acts of employee fraud or dishonesty.
  • We can assist in preparing compliance manuals, anti-corruption compliance programs, money laundering and whistle blowing.
  • We can advise regarding the benefits of employee screening and crisis response plans.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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