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WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Brett Clapp at FTI Consulting is highly regarded for his complex data modelling and ability to collect and analyse data from a variety of platforms.

Questions & Answers

The views expressed herein are those of the author and not necessarily the views of FTI Consulting, Inc, its management, its subsidiaries, its affiliates or its other professionals. FTI Consulting, Inc, including its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a consulting firm and is not a certified public accounting firm or a law firm.

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 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 investigations, and other cases requiring complex data modelling or sharing of electronic information.

How has the market changed since you first started practising?

The data analytics market has changed quite a bit from when I first started. Most obviously, the data sizes have gotten much larger and the tools available to find insights (including both the coding languages used and computing horsepower available to drive them) have evolved significantly. However, I think the biggest change of all is the appetite of the audience to put these tools to use. Clients (and regulators) have become much more open, and educated, on the use of data analytics to find insights from data.

What do you enjoy most about working as a data expert?

The role of a data expert is an interesting combination of solving puzzles and identifying truths. I believe that the answer to any question can always be found in the numbers, but it often takes a well-considered data approach to help tease it out. In my role, I get the pleasure of working side by side with people who are truly experts in their respective fields. If done correctly, analytics can be used to amplify the knowledge of these brilliant people in order to identify real insights. Meeting this challenge is the best part of working as a data expert.

What is the most memorable case you have been a part of?

It is a bit dated now (given that it somehow happened almost 13 years ago), but the most memorable case that I have been part of is the investigation of Bernard L Madoff Investment Securities. The impact of that case was so dramatic that it was front-page news for months and I was working right at the coalface to understand what happened. I have been involved with several other high-publicity investigations and I don’t think any case will ever match the intensity of the spotlight focused on the Madoff investigation.

How do you seek to match your data skills accordingly to client issues and needs?

In my experience, good data analysis always starts with listening. You can’t hope to achieve any meaningful outcome if you don’t have a clear definition of the problem that you are trying to solve. There is nothing positive achieved by creating a “solution” and then scouring for a problem. Unfortunately, this approach is far too common within the data analytics community. Once you have defined the problem, both at a macro level and within the micro-environment of a specific client, the next step is to pivot 180 degrees to start exploring the available data. It is at this intersection of a well-defined use case and a good understanding of the data available that real insights can be found. 

How have machine learning and artificial intelligence impacted how you approach investigations?

Machine learning and artificial intelligence are powerful tools that can really add value to an investigation. Most notably, the power of the underlying math can identify patterns across large and complex data sets that the human brain just cannot see. This can be especially helpful in situations where you have examples of the malfeasance and are trying to identify other similar problematic transactions buried in the data. Experienced investigators are very good at unwinding a fraud once they have an idea on where to look. Machine learning and artificial intelligence are incredible tools to help identify the loose threads that are worth further attention. 

What impact do you think covid-19 will have on regulatory investigations?

In the short term, covid-19 slowed down the market and created some logistical challenges to conduct thorough investigations. However, both of these issues will be short-lived. The regulatory requirements and associated compliance lapses by companies will eventually return to normal (or perhaps to even higher levels given the increased pressures that companies and their employees are now facing). The logistical challenges (eg, doing forensic collections remotely) can now be successfully managed which may prove helpful as things return to “normal”. In the long run, I do not believe covid-19 will have a significant impact on regulatory investigations.

How does FTI Consulting differentiate itself from its competitors?

Investigations are unique. In different cases, the nature of the allegations, the risk tolerance of the involved parties, and the evidence available for review can vary significantly. At FTI, our approach is to bring several “tools” (or areas of specific expertise) to help our clients work through these challenges (including forensic accounting, data analytics, business intelligence and computer forensics). Where we set ourselves apart from our competitors is our ability to work seamlessly. We operate as a single global team with the ability to adjust our approach to bring the right expertise to meet the clients’ needs and to weave the capabilities together to create an integrated solution. 

What advice would you give to someone starting out as a data specialist?

Stay hungry to learn. A good data specialist is fuelled by a constant desire to learn about where technology is going next and how those tools can be applied to clients’ problems.  Given the rate at which technology evolves, people that rest on their laurels are quickly left behind.  

Global Leader

Data - Data Experts 2021

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Brett Clapp at FTI Consulting is highly regarded for his complex data modelling and ability to collect and analyse data from a variety of platforms.

Biography

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.

National Leader

WWL Ranking: Recommended
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