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Thought Leaders

Thought Leaders

Fred Chan

Fred Chan

AnkuraSuite 2206, Level 22, Central Plaza18 Harbour Road, WanchaiHong KongHong Kong

Thought Leader

Thought Leaders - Data - Data Experts 2020

Q&A

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Fred Chan draws praise as a “professional and seasoned operator” with nearly 20 years’ experience in a range of matters including regulatory compliance, e-discovery support and corporate investigations.

Questions & Answers

Fred Chan is a managing director at Ankura, based in Hong Kong. He has 20 years’ experience in high-tech investigations, e-discovery support, regulatory compliance and corporate investigations for a considerable number of Fortune 500 companies in Asia. Fred has held senior positions in both corporate compliance functions and international risk consulting practices, specialising in the areas of financial forensic investigations and forensic technology deployment.

What inspired you to pursue a career in forensic technology, corporate investigations and e-discovery? 

I was an accountant by training, and I began my career in investigations and forensics by chance. I had a choice early in my career between corporate compliance or a new area of focus known as forensic accounting. I had a thirst to learn and an inquiring mind. My interest in technology further refined my path. Ultimately, I became one of the few practitioners in digital forensics in Asia at the time of the millennium.    

What has been your most interesting case to date and why? 

It was my first case as a project manager: a fraud investigation into a six-star facility in China, owned by a reputable Sino-American joint venture with investors from several prominent US corporations and well-known families in Asia. In the facility’s boardroom there was a close-up photo of the company CEO shaking hands with Deng Xiaoping, the paramount leader of China. The case began from a confidential integrity check of the main contractor, followed by the expatriate CFO suddenly fleeing back to the USA, claiming his life was under threat, just the weekend before I arrived onsite. I had to start the project with forensic data recovery and the reconstruction of years’ worth of records to help the client keep the business operational. The investigation eventually unveiled a US$40 million construction payment fraud involving the project manager and the CFO. In addition, we discovered an expense reimbursement fraud of US$4 million committed by the CFO, who I was told had been living a lavish lifestyle. I had to use all my skills and knowledge in computer forensics, financial investigation and crisis management in this assignment, involving resources and actions in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Australia, BVI, Thailand and major cities in the US. I also testified in this matter before a grand jury in New York City.

As clients are becoming increasingly sophisticated, what are the main qualities they look for in an effective data expert?

Being knowledgeable, adaptable and able to understand the concerns of different stakeholders. The operating environment and structure of each client are different. As a practitioner, I must keep an open mind and work with the client on the best approach to tackle the task at hand, ranging from data collection in response to a discovery order to an incident response of a breach involving sensitive data. 

What approach do you take when handling large international mandates that require engagement with differing cultural attitudes to privacy of data?

I’ve been working and living in Asia since the early 1990s. All my projects are, to a certain extent, cross-border in nature, or involve parties from different jurisdictions or cultural backgrounds. The key thing is to be able to offer perspective and alleviate concerns to bridge cultural differences. Creating common ground is necessary when dealing with views between different cultures and professions. 

What impact has the exponential use of data used in investigations had on their nature and your approach to them?

The best practice for collection has changed so much over the past decade from forensically sound to forensically acceptable, mainly due to the extraordinary growth in data generation and storage capacity. The analysis, correlation and collation of information/artefacts require the use of sophisticated tools and technology, such as cloud-based machine learning (supervised/unsupervised) and data visualisation. Nowadays, user-created data commonly includes both structured data, such as databases, and non-structured data, such as emails from various devices. Each data source may require different methods and skills to preserve and validate the data captured to ensure its integrity.

How has the shift among clients, from a reactive approach to data compliance and internal processes to a proactive one, affected the type of work you are receiving?

Due to the heavy fines for non-compliance, and the data localisation requirements introduced by regulations (eg, the EU GDPR), we have seen a growth in demand for data privacy compliance and related cybersecurity consulting services.

In your opinion, what are the likely long-term effects of covid-19 on data and investigations work?

Businesses will be operating in a far more distributed environment with increased remote-working capabilities, and more business between suppliers and customers will be concluded virtually. These conditions create pressure on IT departments for infrastructure/endpoint monitoring, protection and the need to revamp the organisation’s DRP and business continuity plan. Very often in an investigation, evidence (data) requires a witness (user) to substantiate its validity and authenticity. 

What is the best piece of career advice you have received? 

An Einstein quote that one of my mentors offered to me as inspiration to stay positive and relentless: “In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

Global Leader

Data - Data Experts 2020

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Fred Chan draws praise as a “professional and seasoned operator” with nearly 20 years’ experience in a range of matters including regulatory compliance, e-discovery support and corporate investigations.

Biography

Fred Chan is a managing director at Ankura, based in Hong Kong. He has over 18 years’ experience in high-tech investigations, e-discovery support, regulatory compliance, and corporate investigations having worked on engagements for a considerable number of Fortune 500 companies in the Asia region. Fred has held senior positions in both corporate compliance functions and international risk consulting practices specialising in areas of financial forensic investigations and forensic technology deployment through the Asia-Pacific region.

Fred has extensive experience in conducting complex forensic investigations in matters related to regulatory compliance, breaches, FCPA compliance due diligence, shareholders’ dispute advisory, internal investigations, audit committee inquiries, investigations pertaining to theft of proprietary design, intellectual property, financial reporting frauds, employee ethical issues and whistleblower allegations. His forensic analysis experience includes analysis of computer systems, network servers, financial reporting systems, and digital evidences in response to data breach incidents, electronic discovery response and fraud investigations.

Fred has worked in many locations around the world and in Asia in countries including mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Dubai, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam. Fred is fluent in Cantonese, Mandarin and English.

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Fred Chan is highly sought after by clients for his first-rate work providing e-discovery support and handling corporate investigations. 

Biography

Fred Chan is a managing director at Ankura, based in Hong Kong. He has over 18 years’ experience in high-tech investigations, e-discovery support, regulatory compliance, and corporate investigations having worked on engagements for a considerable number of Fortune 500 companies in the Asia region. Fred has held senior positions in both corporate compliance functions and international risk consulting practices specialising in areas of financial forensic investigations and forensic technology deployment through the Asia-Pacific region.

Fred has extensive experience in conducting complex forensic investigations in matters related to regulatory compliance, breaches, FCPA compliance due diligence, shareholders’ dispute advisory, internal investigations, audit committee inquiries, investigations pertaining to theft of proprietary design, intellectual property, financial reporting frauds, employee ethical issues and whistleblower allegations. His forensic analysis experience includes analysis of computer systems, network servers, financial reporting systems, and digital evidences in response to data breach incidents, electronic discovery response and fraud investigations.

Fred has worked in many locations around the world and in Asia in countries including mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Dubai, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam. Fred is fluent in Cantonese, Mandarin and English.

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Fred Chan is highly sought after by clients for his first-rate work providing e-discovery support and handling corporate investigations.

Biography

Fred Chan is a managing director at Ankura, based in Hong Kong. He has over 18 years’ experience in high-tech investigations, e-discovery support, regulatory compliance, and corporate investigations having worked on engagements for a considerable number of Fortune 500 companies in the Asia region. Fred has held senior positions in both corporate compliance functions and international risk consulting practices specialising in areas of financial forensic investigations and forensic technology deployment through the Asia-Pacific region.

Fred has extensive experience in conducting complex forensic investigations in matters related to regulatory compliance, breaches, FCPA compliance due diligence, shareholders’ dispute advisory, internal investigations, audit committee inquiries, investigations pertaining to theft of proprietary design, intellectual property, financial reporting frauds, employee ethical issues and whistleblower allegations. His forensic analysis experience includes analysis of computer systems, network servers, financial reporting systems, and digital evidences in response to data breach incidents, electronic discovery response and fraud investigations.

Fred has worked in many locations around the world and in Asia in countries including mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Dubai, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam. Fred is fluent in Cantonese, Mandarin and English.

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