Andrew Durant
Office:
200 Aldersgate
Aldersgate Street
EC1A 4HD
City:
London
Country:
England
Tel:
+44 20 3727 1144

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders - Investigations

Andrew Durant is a senior managing director in FTI Consulting’s forensic and litigation consulting practice and is based in London. Having worked in the forensic accounting sector for 25 years, he has gained significant experience investigating financial statement fraud; stock and other asset losses; theft of confidential data; procurement and sales fraud; investment fraud and corruption and bribery. His international experience includes assignments in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, continental Europe, the Middle East, the UK and the US.

WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO A CAREER IN FORENSIC CONSULTING?

It wasn’t something I consciously thought about after qualifying as a chartered accountant. One summer I was asked to go to Scotland for a few days to help out on a tax dispute. Two months later I was still there but now investigating a stock fraud. I was bitten by the type of work – it was unpredictable, and it involved being away from the office and a combination of financial analysis, interpersonal skills and a healthy dose of scepticism. Most importantly, I had a natural ability. This coincided with the development of the firm’s forensic practice so I asked to transfer out of audit. That was 25 years ago. Everything that initially attracted me to the work still applies.

AS A SENIOR MANAGING DIRECTOR, HOW DO YOU ENSURE THE TEAM STANDS OUT AMONG COMPETITORS?

As a company, we strive to be the best at everything we do, which means having the best staff. Having been in the industry for 25 years, I know who’s who and we have therefore managed to build an outstanding leadership team. This, in turn, means we can hire and develop great staff. And that’s what clients want – smart, highly motivated staff led by senior forensic accountants who have 20 years’ plus experience. The best form of marketing is doing great work, so nothing less than 100 per cent commitment, attention to detail and focus on the commercial realities is acceptable.

AS INVESTIGATIONS BECOME INCREASINGLY INTERNATIONAL, HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO BE ABLE TO PROVIDE CLIENTS WITH A GLOBAL PRESENCE?

Most, if not all our work, has an international component. In the last year, we have had projects in Africa, Asia, Europe, CIS, the Mediterranean, the Middle East and the Caribbean. This means either being able to deploy staff from London (many of whom speak foreign languages) or working with colleagues from offices in those regions. Have passport, will travel.

WHAT WOULD YOU SAY ARE THE MAIN FACTORS DRIVING THE RECENT UPTICK IN DISPUTES ACROSS AFRICA AND THE MIDDLE EAST AND HOW HAS THIS TREND AFFECTED YOUR PRACTICE?

Africa and the Middle East are two of the fastest-growing regions in the world. There is a huge amount of investment in financial services, infrastructure, power and extraction. Wherever there is investment, there will be disputes in due course. These may involve fraud or commercial disputes. As a result, almost half of the work we have carried out in the last 12 months has been in those regions: Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, Cameroon, Senegal, Rwanda, Nigeria, Dubai, Pakistan and Qatar. So we need staff who are comfortable working in these regions and who are able to travel at a moment’s notice. Local language skills are also key, and when recruiting new staff we aim to hire staff who are fluent in a second or third language.

MUCH OF YOUR WORK INVOLVES MANY HIGHLY REGULATED SECTORS – TO WHAT EXTENT IS SECTOR-SPECIFIC KNOWLEDGE IMPORTANT ON THE PART OF THE EXPERT WHEN DEALING WITH RELATED MATTERS?

When clients approach us, they ask for details of expertise in a particular industry, geography and fraud type. One of the key benefits of working for a firm such as FTI Consulting is that many of my colleagues are experts in construction, financial services, insurance, oil and gas, mining, power generation and distribution, among others. I have also carried out investigations of many of those sectors. Therefore, between me and colleagues in London and elsewhere around the world, we can always find the right expertise to help clients.

HOW HAS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CLIENT, LAWYER AND EXPERT DEVELOPED SINCE YOU BEGAN YOUR CAREER?

Over the years, the relationship has become one of “trusted adviser” but I think that is due to my increased seniority and experience. Clients and lawyers know that I will give them the best advice irrespective of what it means for me. I may advise clients not to commence an investigation, for example, if I think the potential outcomes do not meet their objectives. This means that next time I am approached and recommend a full investigation they know that I have their best interests at heart.

TO WHAT EXTENT DO YOU THINK ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE WILL REPLACE THE ROLE OF FORENSIC ACCOUNTANTS WHEN IT COMES TO INVESTIGATIONS?

I don’t think technology will ever completely replace the forensic accountant. Fraud is committed by individuals, and each will think differently, have different motives and, given the same opportunity, will carry out a fraud in a different way. So it will need another individual to consider motive, opportunity and pressures – all components of the “fraud triangle”. As businesses become increasingly complex with more data, artificial intelligence will help the forensic accountant identify key transactions and facts. However, making sense of this for presentation to the client or courts will still require “real intelligence”. 

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNGER EXPERTS LOOKING TO PURSUE A CAREER IN THIS AREA?

In my first two years as a forensic accountant, I managed to get experience across a wide range of industries working directly with professionals who knew their sectors inside out. The skills I picked up along the way meant that I was always in demand when it came to staffing new jobs. And that was self-perpetuating. So, I would advise younger experts to think about where they can gain that same range of experience in as short a time as possible. Working for one of the big audit firms may look good on the CV but they may only get involved in one big matter in that time. A smaller more niche firm may provide the experience I gained 25 years ago.

Biographies:

Who's Who Legal Consulting Experts: Experts - Investigations - Forensic Accountants

Andrew Durant is a senior managing director in FTI Consulting's forensic and litigation consulting practice and is based in London. Having worked in the forensic accounting sector for 25 years, he has gained experience investigating a range of issues including financial statement fraud; stock and other asset losses; theft of confidential data; procurement and sales fraud; investment fraud and corruption and bribery.  He also has extensive experience in carrying out due diligence and asset tracing assignments.

Andrew was previously a partner in a leading global audit firm where he helped to establish their fraud unit. Andrew's expertise in forensic accounting and investigations covers a wide range of industries including banking, retail, manufacturing, transport, construction and fast moving consumer goods. His international experience includes assignments in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, continental Europe, the Middle East, the UK and the US.

Andrew has acted on behalf of a number of UK and foreign regulators. He regularly works closely with senior directors, internal auditors, legal advisers and prosecuting authorities in order to affect both criminal and civil proceedings. Andrew has had numerous articles published on fraud investigation and asset tracing and has also lectured widely on those subjects. He was also the founding editor of FraudTrack, a survey of UK fraud trends.

A fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and a certified fraud examiner, he has a BA in accountancy studies from the University of Exeter.

Andrew is recognised as a Thought Leader in WWL: Investigations 2018 and as one of the leading experts in WWL: Consulting Experts 2018 and WWL: Asset Recovery 2018.

WWL says: Andrew Durant is a “rigorous and experienced” expert who impresses peers with his deep expertise in fraud investigations.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Consulting Experts which can be purchased from our Shop.

Who's Who Legal Consulting Experts: Experts - Investigations - Asset Recovery Experts

Andrew Durant is a senior managing director in FTI Consulting's forensic and litigation consulting practice and is based in London. Having worked in the forensic accounting sector for 25 years, he has gained experience investigating a range of issues including financial statement fraud; stock and other asset losses; theft of confidential data; procurement and sales fraud; investment fraud and corruption and bribery.  He also has extensive experience in carrying out due diligence and asset tracing assignments.

Andrew was previously a partner in a leading global audit firm where he helped to establish their fraud unit. Andrew's expertise in forensic accounting and investigations covers a wide range of industries including banking, retail, manufacturing, transport, construction and fast moving consumer goods. His international experience includes assignments in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, continental Europe, the Middle East, the UK and the US.

Andrew has acted on behalf of a number of UK and foreign regulators. He regularly works closely with senior directors, internal auditors, legal advisers and prosecuting authorities in order to affect both criminal and civil proceedings. Andrew has had numerous articles published on fraud investigation and asset tracing and has also lectured widely on those subjects. He was also the founding editor of FraudTrack, a survey of UK fraud trends.

A fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and a certified fraud examiner, he has a BA in accountancy studies from the University of Exeter.

Andrew is recognised as a Thought Leader in WWL: Investigations 2018 and as one of the leading experts in WWL: Consulting Experts 2018 and WWL: Asset Recovery 2018.

WWL says: Andrew Durant is “absolutely excellent” when it comes to handling complex asset loss, theft and fraud-related matters.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Consulting Experts which can be purchased from our Shop.

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