Forensic Accountants and Digital Forensic Experts Analysis

Our research picks out the foremost forensic accountants with recognised expertise in this field, as well as the outstanding digital forensic experts. The former were commended for their knowledge of disputes and regulatory issues, and the latter were recognised by the market for their skills in e-discovery, computer forensics, data recovery and analysis for clients including law firms and corporations.

The Big Four feature prominently in our research, as do leading international accounting and consulting firms FTI ConsultingGrant Thornton, Kroll and Berkeley Research Group.

Deloitte is the leading firm in this edition with 22 nominees selected for inclusion. The accountancy practice is “seriously strong”, with 15 experts featured across eight offices. Alan Stewart in Toronto is “top of any list” and recommended for the breadth and depth of his experience in this sector. Alongside him, the “excellent” Roddy Allan is praised for his work as advisor and investigator on behalf of financial institutions, public companies and legal counsel. Peter Dent is said to be “one of the foremost anti-corruption experts in this sector”. In the UK, Simon  Cuerden heads the disputes practice of Deloitte Forensic in the UK and the forensic practice outside London, and is said to be “as good as it gets in this sector”. Mark Tantam is global head of investigations and “tremendously skilled”. He was praised for his work relating to the FCPA and also for his “market-leading sanctions expertise.” Chris Georgiou in New York scores very highly, as does the “formidable” Edward Rial, global leader of the firm’s FCPA consulting services. Chris Phillips in Zurich leads forensic services in Switzerland and is highly respected throughout Europe. The firm’s seven selected digital experts are drawn from six countries, once again underlining the levels of expertise that Deloitte is able to offer its clients globally. Jeffrey Seymour in New York is the national leader of the discovery practice and was commended by corporate and law firm clients alike for his expertise on electronic discovery, computer forensics and information governance matters. The firm is also strong in Canada, Hong Kong and Europe, where Baldwin Kramer in Switzerland stood out in particular for his “skill, insight and analysis”.

The 17 nominees from KPMG are taken from eight jurisdictions, with 13 accountants selected. James McAuley in Toronto “gets fantastic assignments” and scored particularly highly. The firm is very strong in the US where Corey Martens in Chicago is deemed “a pleasure to work with” and Ginger Menown is extremely well regarded in Dallas for energy-related matters in particular. Hitesh Patel in London scores highly for governance and internal control matters. Jean-Luc Guitera heads the forensic team in Paris and is among the most experienced fraud investigators in Europe. The firm has a further presence in Spain where Fernando Cuñado is a “superb” disputes expert with an “unbelievable ability to focus in on the most important details and to present them in an understandable way”. Two further representatives are listed in both Australia and Bermuda. On the digital side, Paul Tombleson in the UK is head of technology risk consulting and has successfully led over 100 forensic technology and data analytics assignments. Two nominees are selected in Canada, where Dominic Jaar is recognised for his “great mind” and praised for his commercial awareness as well as his forensic abilities, and there are further nominees selected in Switzerland and Australia.

FTI Consulting sees an impressive 10 experts included. The firm is particularly strong in the UK with four London-based nominees selected. Sources spoke highly of Andrew Durant; he “has the ability to deal sensibly and strategically in cross-jurisdictional matters; he explains complex issues in a simple manner and goes above and beyond what is required”. Interviewees say that it is “hard to think of anybody better” than Julian Glass for financial crime forensic investigations, particularly in relation to bribery and in cross-border cases, while Andrew Mainz is extremely well regarded for his fraud and false accounting related expertise; he is “commercially savvy and technically brilliant”. Alongside them, Ian Smith is “undeniably impressive” and praised for his attention to detail as well as his superb e-discovery work. Four nominees hail from the US offices. In Chicago, Gary Kleinrichert is said to be outstanding for fraud matters as well as for regulatory and corporate compliance investigations, while Jeff Litvak is praised by sources across a range of industries for his skill and exceptional client handling. Michael Pace is globally recognised for his expertise across all types of investigation and is regarded by his peers as a “thought leader in this space”. Brian Ong is universally respected in the New York market as "forthright and insightful". The firm’s expertise extends to Singapore, where Jarrod Baker is praised for his commercial acumen, ability to interface with clients and “willingness to take the extra step required on all fronts”. Juan Valderas is one of Spain’s experts for fraud-related investigations, and also respected across the continent for his work on regulatory-related issues.

Nine nominees are selected from the “universally impressive” Grant Thornton. The London office is particularly strong, with Will Davies described as “fantastic to work with” and much in demand due to the quality of his work and depth of his experience. In Colin Johnson the firm has a highly respected and well-liked member of the community, commended to researchers as “very skilful” and “flawlessly thorough.” Hossein Hamedani is also highly rated by clients and peers. Two further forensic account listings in the US are complemented by the selection of the “superb” Paul Jacobs in Ireland. On the digital side, Kevin Shergold is said to be “a highly impressive and rigorous professional; his work is to the highest standard”, and he is listed alongside Paul Wilson in London and Mark Hoekstra in Rotterdam.

PricewaterhouseCoopers also garners nine nominees across the two sections. Christian Butter is one of four in London and praised for both his investigations and arbitration expertise. John Fisher leads the firm’s disputes practice and is a “big name” in the London market, while Andrew Gordon and Will Fisher garnered impressive support from our sources. Michael Hammes in Frankfurt is “first-class” for fraud-related matters and those relating to directors’ and officers’ breach of duty, while Kevin Kreb in Chicago is “much sought-after” as a conductor of internal risk assessments. Two further digital forensic experts are listed in the US: David Burg is among the most highly regarded individuals in the research overall, and Brian Wycliff received votes from sources worldwide. Peter Vakof “merits inclusion on any list of the best in Canada”, and was commended for his electronic discovery and data analytics practice.

Peter McFarlane at Kroll is very highly regarded in the market. “If there is anything he cannot do then I haven’t found it,” said one interviewee. He leads the financial investigations team in Toronto and is one of three accountants selected for inclusion, alongside Jennie Chan from the same office and the highly rated Stephen West in London, who was praised for his forensic accounting work including the investigation of the collapse of Iceland’s third largest bank, as well as for his fraud-related work. The firm’s four-strong contingent in the digital expert section is led by two highly rated individuals in California. Gregory Caouette has conducted over 140 computer forensic examinations and is among the most highly rated individuals in the field, while Jonathan Fairtlough is much in demand for his knowledge of data breach response and complex cybercrimes. Timothy Ryan in New York is well known due to his background at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Benedict Hamilton is picked out in London for his “unbelievable attention to detail and ability to distil complex issues into understandable form”.

The seven nominees from Ernst & Young includes three highly ranked accountants in the US. Jennifer Baskin in DC is steeped in knowledge of this sector and with her “impeccable credentials” is very highly rated by the market, while Tony Jordan is extremely well regarded in Boston for his work for boards of directors, where his knowledge of SEC investigations is “unparalleled”. Brian Loughman is a “big name” in this sector - “in fact one of the biggest” – and is ranked as one of the leading experts in the country. John Smart leads the fraud investigation and dispute services practice in London and is “top-drawer” for fraud, asset recovery and financial investigations, as well as for the quality of his advice to clients, while Richard Indge leads the UK dispute services team and is similarly well respected. Paul Walker is among the most highly nominated digital experts with an “unrivalled” knowledge of fraud-related matters.

Berkeley Research Group earns six listings in our Experts section. Margaret "Peggy" Daley is one of the most highly respected nominees in our research overall, and there is "no-one more experienced or better qualified". Michael Bandemer and Geoffrey Brown are both very well regarded in California, while in England Alexander Carte was described to researchers as "unbelievably skilled" and a "joy to work with", and Michael Jelen is feted for his analytical abilities as well as for his "confident and effective" testimony as expert witness. Alongside them, Daniel Ryan is leader of the London office and "one of the best expert witnesses I have come across" and one of the most highly rated individuals in our UK forensic accountant research.

Phil Beckett in London is one of the foremost digital experts in our research and one five nominees from Alvarez & Marsal. He is hugely experienced, “incredibly thorough” and widely respected for his digital evidence expertise. On the accountant side, Luke Steadman in the London office has led accounting investigations on both sides of the Atlantic and is well regarded for his work with US regulators and prosecutors, while Laureen Ryan has earned the respect of her peers through her multinational investigations which have been presented to the SEC, the NYS Banking Department and the US Bankruptcy Court. Matthew Bialecki in Chicago scores very highly with recommendations from across the US and beyond, and William Abington in Houston is similarly well regarded.

Duff & Phelps is regarded as a “quality player in this market” and has three highly nominated individuals selected. Erik Laykin in Los Angeles is the first choice of law firms and corporations across the US for e-discovery, computer forensics and all types of corporate investigation, while in London Steve Cornmell is a first-class Inspector in companies’ investigations and strongly recommended for fraud and accounting irregularity. Dominic Wreford joined the firm in May 2015, making an already strong team even stronger, and he was described as “undeniably impressive” to our researchers.

London is a major centre of excellence, especially on the forensic accounting side. Tobias Duthie at Forensic Risk Alliance “knows all there is to know about FCPA enforcement” and is a guiding light in the market, while Andrew Grantham is one of three nominees from AlixPartners and was described as “the best in the business” for financial investigations in the engineering and construction sectors. Gervase MacGregor is similarly one of three colleagues selected from BDO, and is vastly experienced and deemed “tremendously effective”, having conducted investigations on behalf of both regulators and corporate clients.

Peter Steger of Cohen Hamilton Steger & Co in Toronto is also one of the most highly recommended experts in this edition and rated as a “definite inclusion on any list of the best” by those with knowledge of his practice. 

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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