We specialize in cross-border litigation and multi-jurisdictional investigations. We are experts in analyzing large, complex transactional data sets, with experience working on projects encompassing decades of data and transactions. We have delivered critical evidence to regulators and clients that rely on our experience in complex, long-tail transactional analysis, Anti-Bribery and Corruption (ABC) investigations, disputes, regulatory probes, disgorgements, sanctions, debarment, anti-money laundering and terror financing cases.
As a global leader in the industry, FRA provides the skills and knowledge required to advise our clients regarding data issues which arise from regional data protection as well as state and commercial secrecy laws. We have substantial experience in evaluating companies’ systems of internal controls and their books and records to provide useful analysis and recommendations for improvement.
While we have in-house financial and accounting expertise, we do not offer traditional financial audit or accounting advice and are therefore conflict-free, unlike many of our competitors. Moreover, we are regularly appointed as independent monitors by regulators or clients in order to evaluate and test the effectiveness of compliance programs.
Anti-bribery and Corruption (ABC) Investigations
FRA is regularly retained to advise clients in ABC investigations, responding to regulatory probes, testing compliance programs, specifically for matters related to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), the UK Bribery Act (UKBA), the Sapin II, and other relevant global anti-corruption statutes.
We generally act as independent advisors in conducting ABC compliance reviews, as well as work alongside compliance and internal audit functions to supplement or test their work.
We take a data-driven and risk-based approach to minimize client costs and maximize resource investments, and encompass industry, operational and country-specific risks.
We always provide clear, professional and – above all – practical advice to our clients. Our team brings both real-world commercial experience as well as specialist professional knowledge in order to address the challenges which arise in corporate management roles and in successfully addressing complex issues.
Disgorgement and Complex Damages Calculations
FRA’s specialist team has more than 20 years of experience in performing complex calculations in financial settlements with regulators. We are regularly retained to support our clients with:
- Profit Disgorgements
- Penalty and Fines Quantifications
- Damage Valuations
- Affordability / ‘Ability-to-Pay’ calculations
FRA has conducted financial gain and profitability analyses to successfully reduce financial settlements with the US DOJ, SEC, OFAC, UKSFO, the Swiss authorities, and Brazilian and Dutch regulators (FIOD and OM).
Such engagements require an empirical approach to financial data, a strong understanding of accounting and reporting in international businesses, and an understanding of what approaches regulators will accept and/or have accepted in the past. We are deeply experienced in all three of these areas and often participate in multi-disciplinary teams with attorneys and client representatives to achieve successful outcomes. Our strength in data mining combined with strong accounting knowledge and financial modeling skills means we are able to provide empirical, robust, defensible analysis, frequently acting as testifying experts as well as consulting experts.
We have successfully made economic, financial and accounting arguments to exclude certain revenue items and/or include certain deductions resulting in significant reduction of the profitability figures which typically underpin regulatory fine calculations, and hence lower settlement amounts for our clients.
FRA has first-hand experience of the complexities and sensitivities arising from acting as and supporting a monitor. We also on occasion serve as the compliance monitor. The priority in such engagements is to build trust with the company while maintaining complete independence as well as managing regulatory demands and tight budgets. We provide rigorous testing of the existing controls to ensure their appropriateness with the aim of preventing future misconduct.
Our monitorship experience includes work on several high profile cases: we have been appointed to support DOJ, SEC, PCAOB, and New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS)-appointed monitors, supplying a variety of services in FCPA, OFAC, FATCA, accounting standards, and environmental matters.
FRA is also currently supporting the DOJ-appointed monitor in accordance with the City of Ferguson Consent Decree, to bring about constructive and human rights oriented policing, as well as being appointed co-monitor in a Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) mandate, the first of its kind.
In such engagements, our work focuses on:
- Evaluation of past typologies, testing of data sets, and remediation efforts;
- Empirical testing of corporate governance, tone at the top and ethics;
- Compliance reviews and interviews with key finance staff;
- Auditing of policies and procedures;
- Extensive transactional testing to assess potential “red flags”, compliance systems and identify areas for improvement; and
- Reporting on remediation as well as progress per settlement agreements.
Banking & Finance Compliance (AML, BSA, Sanctions, and Counter Terror Financing)
FRA was founded on the basis of our experience in complex, long-tail financial transactional analysis, and we have developed a strong expertise in advising clients on Anti-Money Laundering (AML) issues, performing extensive Asset Tracing exercises, advising on Sanctions / embargo violation investigations (OFAC, EU, etc.), and provide expert witness testimony in Counter-Terror Financing (CTF) cases.
FRA has a dedicated financial services team that regularly works with financial institutions in analyzing transactional data, following transactional flows, and detecting fraud and compliance failures. Several members of our leadership team are also former investment bankers or traders with global market experience (Lazard, HSBC, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan, Citibank) in London, New York, Paris and Asian markets.
Our team is familiar with banking systems and data mining, which combined with strong accounting knowledge and financial modeling skills, enables FRA to provide crucial evidence in high profile, multi-jurisdictional matters. Our team members frequently provide expert reporting and expert testimony in financial disputes and compliance matters.
Specifically we advise on:
- AML, CTF, and OFAC and sanctions-related compliance;
- Data mining, analytics and testing as part of internal investigations or regulatory investigations;
- Testing and reviews for NYDFS-appointed monitorships;
- Tax (FATCA, UK VAT, etc.);
- Affordability analyses (for negotiations relating to penalties);
- Testing of interdiction and other compliance-related software and reporting;
- Designing internal audit processes;
- Third party due-diligence;
- Pro-active AML compliance; and
- Frozen asset reviews.
Contact our Finance & Banking Team
M&A Due-Diligence and Compliance Reviews
FRA is regularly retained to assist companies in developing robust pre- and post-acquisition (M&A) due-diligence reviews, focusing on ABC and sanctions due-diligence, counter-parties, and investment targets, for issues surrounding vicarious and successor liability.
The underlying objective of our M&A reviews is to determine the state of the target’s books and records and its internal controls – allowing the acquirer to identify high-risk areas and gaps, and prioritize due-diligence efforts post acquisition. Our compliance reviews are nuanced, targeted, and focus on transactional testing. We ensure that policies are being implemented, and identify where improvements are required for a robust ABC environment.
Our work has provided valuable information for acquisitions and divestitures. FRA investigations have led to modification of price or terms, deal abandonment, changes in post-acquisition plans, warranties and more.
Third Party Due-Diligence
Third party relationships have become a crucial aspect of ABC investigations, as regulators demand full compliance with relevant laws from third parties and vendors and punish parent companies for non-compliance.
FRA works with clients to determine and address the risks posed from third party relationships and mitigate potential sanctions, focusing on key areas, such as:
- Anti-Bribery and Corruption (FCPA, UKBA, Sapin II etc.);
- Anti-Money Laundering (AML);
- Sanctions (OFAC, EU, etc.); and
- Tax compliance and reporting (FATCA, UK failure to prevent tax evasion, etc.).
We also work with clients to design and evaluate compliance programs and test the operating effectiveness of existing controls, by identifying gaps and prioritize enhancements / remediation efforts.
To proactively mitigate risk, FRA has designed Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems for companies with significant geographical footprints and third party relationships, to map red flags and mitigate risks through the latest data analytics tools.
Tax Investigations (FATCA, UK VAT, etc.)
We conduct tax related investigations in a variety of contexts: from the US DOJ Swiss Banks Program, to FATCA, UK VAT, or transfer-pricing issues. We have decades of experience working with clients in analyzing transactional data, following transaction flows, and detecting compliance failures.
We focus on:
- Tax investigations, compliance program design, monitoring and testing;
- Data mining for analysis and presentation to counsel, regulators, and enforcement agencies;
- Transactional lookbacks for OFAC and other sanctions related investigations and regulatory responses;
- Acting as Independent Examiners (IE) or supporting IEs with forensic accounting, data mining and data analytics at financial institutions (for example, under the Swiss Banks Program); and
- Provide expert support to NYDFS monitors for FATCA investigative elements
FRA is strongly positioned to provide reliable, independent analyses for claimants and respondents in investor-state and commercial arbitrations. Our experience in a variety of industries, mixed with our expertise in accounting and forensics, allows us to provide consulting and expert testimony on technical accounting as well as on complex financial issues.
Our arbitration experience includes:
- Financial gain and profitability analysis;
- Equity valuation;
- Affordability analyses (balance sheet, cash flow, and P&L analysis for negotiations relating to penalties);
- Contractual dispute resolution before Commercial courts and arbitral tribunals (ad hoc, ICC and ICSID); and
- Regulatory litigation before state courts and global regulatory bodies (DOJ, SEC and US Senate).