Brett Clapp
Office:
Level 35, Oxford House
Taikoo Place, 979 King’s Road
Quarry Bay
City:
Hong Kong
Country:
Hong Kong
Tel:
+852 3768 4729

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders - Data

Brett Clapp is a senior managing director at FTI Consulting and leads the company’s Asia-Pacific data and analytics practice. His expertise is in extracting and analysing large amounts of data from disparate financial and operational systems to quickly and efficiently provide meaningful insights. He specialises in complex, data-intensive cases including government/regulatory investigations, anti-bribery and corruption compliance, financial/accounting fraud investigations, and other cases requiring complex data modelling or sharing of electronic information.

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT WORKING IN THE FIELD OF DATA ANALYTICS?

The short answer is I love the challenge of trying to solve a problem. As the amount of data continues to explode (and the tools available to analyse that data become more powerful), the answers to companies’ biggest problems are going to be found using data analytics. More specifically, using data analytics in the context of compliance often means trying to outsmart the fraudsters. It is looking for ways to uncover bad behaviour that was hidden on purpose. As I really don’t like losing, the challenge brings out the best in me! 

WHAT ADVANTAGES DOES HONG KONG AND THE ASIA-PACIFIC REGION OFFER WHEN IT COMES TO WORKING WITH DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS?

The biggest advantage is the amount of data available. Many companies in the Asia-Pacific region (most notably in China but really across the entire region) produce enormous amounts of data as part of their business processes. However, many people in the Asia-Pacific region are still getting comfortable with data analytics and how it fits into their existing processes for managing their business and its risks. This means that much of this data remains untapped for knowledge and insights. This obviously presents significant opportunities for someone that focuses on data analytics.

WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR FOR CONSULTING FIRMS AT THE MOMENT IN ENSURING THAT THEY REMAIN DYNAMIC AND EFFECTIVE?

Staying dynamic and effective requires that consulting firms in the data analytics space do not get comfortable with their current technological capabilities. The world of data is constantly evolving (eg, big data, artificial intelligence, blockchain) as are the use cases presented by clients (eg, cybersecurity, sanctions) so it is essential that consulting firms continue to look for new ways to use technology to add value to their clients.

HOW HAS THE PROCEDURE OF RUNNING AN INVESTIGATION EVOLVED SINCE YOU BEGAN WORKING IN THE SPACE?

Quite simply, the scale and complexity of the transgressions (eg, frauds, bribery payments, misconduct) have become more and more advanced over time. During my time in Hong Kong and China, I have investigated frauds and other schemes that were wide-reaching, complex, and supported by multiple layers of false documentation and other means of concealment. Given these challenges, it is now a rare case where an email review quickly and/or efficiently leads to a “smoking gun” document. Instead, it is essential that investigators look for multiple angles that might help them detect and unwind the scheme.

HOW DOES WORKING IN-HOUSE COMPARE WITH WORKING AS A CONSULTANT?

If you are doing it right, it shouldn’t be all that different. In both cases, you are looking for ways to solve issues for the company. The biggest difference might be in the type of issues that you face as a consultant. My roles in-house were much more “normal course of business” with a long-term business process improvement in mind. Alternatively, as a consultant I am often involved with urgent investigations that are hopefully rare events for the company.

TO WHAT EXTENT HAS THE DEVELOPMENT OF E-DISCOVERY “CHANGED THE GAME” WHEN IT COMES TO DATA ANALYSIS IN THE CONTENT OF A LITIGATION?

When I first moved to Hong Kong six years ago, there really wasn’t “e-discovery” as you might know it in the United States. People generally performed their discovery functions in a decidedly non-electronic format (eg, printing out the documents that they were given by the opposing side). Fast forward to today and the amount of data that is available for review as part of a litigation is simply overwhelming for a non-technology driven approach. People’s comfort with these new approaches (eg, predictive coding, analysis and production of large volumes of transactional data) have allowed data analytics to increase the efficiencies that can be achieved with discovery in a litigation.

WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU FACE WHEN IT COMES TO TURNING LARGE AMOUNTS OF DATA INTO SOMETHING USEFUL FOR THE CLIENT?

The initial stages of an investigation often result in a chicken/egg scenario: The attorneys want to know what “data is available” while IT wants the investigation team to “tell us what you want”. Add to this that one team is speaking legal jargon while the other is speaking technical IT jargon and it can become a difficult conversation. The solution to bridging this gap is starting with a high-level understanding on the desired result and then using an iterative process to go deep into the weeds with the IT team to figure out how you get there.

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE YOUR BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT IN YOUR CAREER SO FAR?

Truth be told, I find this question challenging to answer. I spent nearly two years working to investigate and unwind the Bernard L Madoff Investment Securities Ponzi scheme. Given the urgency and publicity of the case, compounded with the difficulty of the task at hand (Mr Madoff did his best to make it challenging to understand exactly what was happening), this case obviously stacks up high on my achievement list. However, I would rate some work that we have done recently as part of a large sanctions investigation in China on an equally high level. This case involved an in-depth and complex analysis of billions of records from the company’s operations and manufacturing systems to answer very specific questions under incredibly intense deadlines. I would also consider this accomplishment to be near the top of my achievement list.

Biographies:

Who's Who Legal Consulting Experts: Experts - Digital & Data - Digital Forensic Experts

Brett Clapp is a senior managing director in the Hong Kong office of FTI Consulting and a member of the firm's forensic and litigation consulting segment. Mr Clapp leads the company's Asia-Pacific data and analytics practice. His expertise is in extracting and analysing large amounts of data from disparate financial systems to quickly and efficiently provide meaningful insights. He specialises in complex, data-intensive cases including government/ regulatory investigations, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) compliance, financial/accounting investigations, and other cases requiring complex data modelling or sharing of electronic information.

Mr Clapp has extensive experience in the identification, collection, analysis, and production of financial, transactional and operational electronic data. He has managed the design and implementation of complex data platforms including the integration of multiple disparate financial systems, the assessment of existing financial system data integrity, and the definition and application of complex legal and financial data analysis methodologies.

Mr Clapp's most notable engagement involved his role as a core member of the global FTI Consulting team providing investigative and litigation support to the Trustee and his counsel on the Bernard L Madoff Investment Securities Ponzi scheme. In that capacity, he led the team responsible for the reconstruction and reconciliation of all accounts, as well as litigation related complex data modelling and analysis used by the trustee.

Mr Clapp has a BS in engineering from the University of Massachusetts and an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.

WWL says: Brett Clapp stands out as a leading name in the region and is lauded by sources as being “brilliant at digital analysis”.

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 - Digital & Data - Data and E-Discovery Experts

Brett Clapp is a senior managing director in the Hong Kong office of FTI Consulting and a member of the firm's forensic and litigation consulting segment. Mr Clapp leads the company's Asia-Pacific data and analytics practice. His expertise is in extracting and analysing large amounts of data from disparate financial systems to quickly and efficiently provide meaningful insights. He specialises in complex, data-intensive cases including government/ regulatory investigations, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) compliance, financial/accounting investigations, and other cases requiring complex data modelling or sharing of electronic information.

Mr Clapp has extensive experience in the identification, collection, analysis, and production of financial, transactional and operational electronic data. He has managed the design and implementation of complex data platforms including the integration of multiple disparate financial systems, the assessment of existing financial system data integrity, and the definition and application of complex legal and financial data analysis methodologies.

Mr Clapp's most notable engagement involved his role as a core member of the global FTI Consulting team providing investigative and litigation support to the Trustee and his counsel on the Bernard L Madoff Investment Securities Ponzi scheme. In that capacity, he led the team responsible for the reconstruction and reconciliation of all accounts, as well as litigation related complex data modelling and analysis used by the trustee.

Mr Clapp has a BS in engineering from the University of Massachusetts and an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.

WWL says: Brett Clapp is a well-regarded name in the data and e-discovery space with a wealth of knowledge on regulatory investigations, bankruptcies and class action settlements.

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

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