Anthony Charlton is a partner of Deloitte France, where he leads the international arbitration team. He has a coordination role with Deloitte’s EMEA international arbitration practice. Anthony has over 20 years’ specialist experience of forensic accounting, damages quantification and business valuation. He has assisted public and private companies, regulators, governments, law firms and individual investors, across many jurisdictions and industries, in the context of claims involving lost profits, contentious valuations, wasted costs, fraud, joint-venture disputes, post-transaction disputes, expert determination, and other types of forensic accounting assignments.
During your career you have worked for a member of the “Big Four” as well as a boutique firm. What are the challenges and benefits of being an expert at a large firm?
Starting with the obvious upside, I have around 312,000 fellow partners and staff to turn to if I need help. It doesn’t matter how obscure the sector or issue, the chances are very high that I will be able to find a subject-matter expert if I need one to complement my quantum expertise. Our sheer size also allows us to work cross-border on the most complex disputes, where language requirements might also be an added complication. Deloitte is also a brand that has high recognition and respect in the market, and this can help with competitive pitches.
Of course, we do get conflicts and this can be a source of frustration. Fortunately, the benefits vastly outweigh the downsides.
To what degree has the arbitration expert market become fragmented over the past decade?
It’s now highly fragmented due to both the proliferation of boutiques and the entry into the marketplace of consultancies who never previously handled disputes. I do see some consolidation because merely being “conflict free” is not enough on its own to be able to thrive in this market. Being able to handle the most complex disputes requires having strength in depth; breadth of sector expertise; and cross-border capabilities. I believe there will still be a market for expertise in relatively low-value disputes, but this will become ever more commoditised and therefore “low cost”.
You are head of international arbitration at Deloitte France. What steps are you taking to ensure that the firm is at the cutting-edge?
In my opinion, recruiting the best talent is key to being at the cutting edge. In addition to supporting our experts and becoming the leading expert witnesses of tomorrow, we need team members with creative ideas who have the energy and ambition to put those ideas into practice. We also look to learn from and adopt initiatives implemented by other teams within Deloitte. One of our current projects involves seeing how expert analysis can be improved through digitalisation, something that our economic consulting colleagues have used successfully in their antitrust/competition/ regulatory work, for example.
To what extent do you think that another global financial crisis is likely in the next five to 10 years?
Economic history is littered with financial crises. One of the main reasons for this, in my opinion, is that economic activity seems to be cyclical as a result of technological innovation and evolution. One of the most famous proponents for this idea was an economist from the Soviet era, Nikolai Kondratiev, who suggested that all capitalistic markets experience long-term cycles of boom followed by a cycle of depression. Many economists estimate that the Kondratiev wave lasts somewhere between 50 to 60 years. I worry that a global depression is no more than five years away. Fundamentally, it seems that the underlying causes of the financial crisis in 2008, far from having been resolved, are very much with us, perhaps even more so than in 2008, and will resurface in the near future.
What effects do you anticipate Brexit having upon the arbitration market?
As I write, it’s far from certain exactly what shape Brexit will take or, indeed, whether it will happen at all. The uncertainty itself might lead to some major projects and deals being abandoned and should make some arbitration practitioners fairly busy. I feel confident that London and Paris will continue to be prominent arbitration centres regardless of what happens.
You have enjoyed a highly successful career to date. What is your proudest accomplishment?
I’m not sure I have a single accomplishment that I would highlight above all others. Some of the achievements I’m most pleased about include becoming a partner at Deloitte, setting up a disputes team from scratch in my previous firm, and having the entirety of my reports’ conclusions accepted in arbitral awards. Not one of these achievements would be possible without having strong support around me, and I try never to forget this fact.
Anthony Charlton is an eminent expert in the assessment of economic loss with a wealth of experience in litigation, commercial arbitration and investor-state arbitration.
Anthony Charlton in a partner of Deloitte France, where he leads the international arbitration team. He has a coordination role with Deloitte’s EMEA International Arbitration practice.
Anthony has over 20 years' specialist experience of forensic accounting, damages quantification and business valuation. He has assisted public and private companies, regulators, governments, law firms and individual investors, across many jurisdictions and industries, in the context of claims involving lost profits, contentious valuations, wasted costs, fraud, joint-venture disputes, post-transaction disputes, expert determination, and other types of forensic accounting assignments.
He has acted as the testifying expert in many investment and commercial arbitration matters, with amounts in dispute ranging from $3 million to over $5 billion, and has also acted as the tribunal-appointed expert. He has also presented testimony in matters before the French and Belgian domestic courts. An ICC tribunal recently awarded a claimant more than $600 million, based on his damages testimony, an amount that matched exactly his assessment of the claimant's losses.
His practice is global, although his recent focus has been Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, and the Middle East. His experience covers many different industry sectors including energy, oil and gas, telecommunications, construction, hotel and leisure, aviation, real estate, infrastructure, banking, chemicals, satellites and materials.
Anthony is a graduate of Durham University and a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. He spent the first 12 years of his professional career in London and has been based in Paris since 2004.