Investigative Due Diligence

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  • Financial services
  • Professional services
  • Corporates
  • Family offices and individuals
  • Charities, education and sport
  • Financial services

    We undertake enhanced due diligence of varying intensity, based on the risk profile of the subject and the client's requirements, on behalf of regulated financial institutions, including investment and corporate banks, private banks, asset managers, hedge funds, private equity houses, insurers and reinsurance firms.

    The financial services industry is highly regulated, given it is particularly exposed to customer-related risks of money laundering, tax or sanctions evasion, bribery and corruption, market manipulation and insider trading.

    Full compliance with regulations is therefore critical to business success, quite apart from the risks to a company’s reputation through association with inappropriate parties. We conduct effective and timely examinations of subjects to identify and assess possible financial crime or reputational risks.

    Examples of this work include

    • Assessing the sources of wealth of Ultra High Net Worth / High Net Worth individuals.

    • Determining the beneficial ownership and control of legal entities.

    • Considering the provenance and accuracy of allegations made against a subject.

    • Identifying and assessing the presence and political affiliations of politically exposed persons.

    • Addressing the potential for sanctions and tax evasion risks.

    • Reviewing the significance of contextual factors, including geopolitical risks.

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    Professional services

    We support professionals, such as lawyers, accountants, real estate specialists, and trust and corporate service providers to assess financial and reputation risks linked to their prospective or actual clients, or in conjunction with them on behalf of their clients.

    Sectors such as these, outside of the financial services industry, are attracting increasing regulatory attention given concerns they could be used unwittingly as conduits for money laundering and other forms of financial crime. We assist our clients to safeguard their position and reputation by carrying out due diligence to complement their internal capacity and capabilities.

    Examples of this work include

    • Assisting accountancy firms to vet prospective clients with higher risk profiles.

    • Working closely with law firms to help advise their clients on matters such as sanctions risks.

    • Supporting trust and corporate service providers to determine legitimacy of client funds.

    • Screening parties to commercial real estate transactions to identify possible money laundering risks.

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    We undertake investigative due diligence for corporate clients, in particular those seeking to do business internationally or in unfamiliar markets. Our clients include a range of publicly-listed companies and those covered by legislation concerning issues such as anti-bribery and corruption, conflict minerals, human rights or modern slavery.

    Our work for corporate clients includes support for their legal and compliance teams to address potential compliance risks. We also support transaction teams seeking to obtain greater insight into specific subjects, industries or economies.

    Our team is very familiar with relevant legislation such as the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the UK Bribery Act and the French Sapin II law.

    Examples of this work include

    • Investigating the track record of potential joint venture or other business partners

    • Understanding how an organisation wins or retains business

    • Confirming the ownership or control structure of legal entities to screen for sanctions risks

    • Mapping corporate associations, affiliations or political ties

    • Considering reputation risks arising from the way an organisation conducts business

    • Reviewing the reputation and background of key suppliers

    • Identifying and assessing risks such as labour disputes or violations

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    Family offices and individuals

    We conduct investigative due diligence for private individuals, and for single or multi-family offices. Such work may focus on compliance risks, such as mitigation of financial crime threats, or may be driven by a desire to identify more information to make business decisions in relation to an investment opportunity, competitor, target or proposed association.

    High profile and high net worth families and individuals often come under sustained pressure to make political and business associations, for opportunistic business, political or societal motivation. A poor choice of association or alliance, while being above board legally, can burden a reputation for decades after the event - in the media, in business and political circles, and in society at large, exacerbated by the near-permanence of the online record. This can include being passed over for prestigious national positions, senior non-executive appointments, and high-profile roles in the charitable sector. We regularly conduct extensive background checks on behalf of high profile and high net worth family offices and individuals into the integrity of individuals and entities who seek to be associated with them.

    Similarly, high net worth individuals may be involved in philanthropic activities, motivated by a desire to give back to society and support worthwhile causes. We help clients assess the reputation of potential donors to their causes, and of the potential beneficiaries of their philanthropy, to ensure their behaviour is consistent with our clients' existing perception of them.

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    Charities, education and sport

    We undertake work for a variety of charitable, educational and sporting establishments. These enquiries typically focus on integrity and reputational concerns, given the importance of these matters to our clients.

    Examples of this work include

    • Investigating agents, brokers or introducers, to better understand their backgrounds and any integrity risks

    • Reviewing key donors, to understand the legitimacy and integrity of funds introduced and their general reputation

    • Assessing prospective business partners, such as overseas partners for educational establishments, to ensure they operate legally and ethically


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This issue covers:

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  • FATF issues first report on money laundering and the illegal wildlife trade
  • A special feature on the new wave of US sanctions against Syria, which have come into force
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