ao link
Who's Who Legal
Who's Who Legal
Menu
Thought Leaders

Thought Leaders

Thought Leader

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

WWL says

Kevin Hellard is hailed as “commercially minded, extremely experienced, highly responsive, technically solid, and at the forefront of major asset recovery matters globally”.

Questions & Answers

Kevin is the practice leader of Grant Thornton’s insolvency and asset recovery team, the largest of its kind within the UK. He has a wealth of experience (spanning 29 years) in contentious insolvency, which includes investigations of fraud, misfeasance, professional negligence and asset tracing across multiple jurisdictions. He is routinely appointed by lawyers, governments, victims of fraud and regulatory agencies over structures that have suffered losses, to trace and recover stolen funds and misappropriated assets from the perpetrators. Kevin also became president of the IPA in April 2020.

How has your role as an insolvency practitioner evolved throughout your career?

Insolvency constantly evolves. It accommodates changes in business dynamics, culture and political will. During my career, specialist areas have developed, such as financial restructuring, asset recovery and bulk providers of individual voluntary arrangements. Within restructuring, practitioners now demonstrate deep knowledge of an industry as well as insolvency expertise. 

What are some of the key powers in your toolkit you employ to handle claims in contentious insolvency cases? 

Insolvency lends itself to contentious cases and asset recovery. This is because insolvency powers enable information-gathering and the delivery up of assets. These are extremely effective if used in the right way. These powers, together with international recognition, enable insolvency procedures to be an important element of wider international asset recovery strategies.  

What challenges do virtual hearings pose to claimants or defendants in fraud cases? How do they impact access to justice?  

Lockdown has seen the emergence of virtual hearings. This could not have been foreseen a few months ago but is now the “norm”.   

While efficient in routine hearings, the difficulty from the claimant’s perspective in complex cases is the cross-examinations of witnesses. Preventing coaching in a virtual environment, or experiencing Wi-Fi failings when you are getting the upper hand, is difficult. This makes fraud cases where dishonesty is to be established difficult. From the defendant’s perspective, the risk of not being able to get a fair trial virtually, when so much is personally at stake, is a powerful tool for arguing for adjournments. 

The court is right to have empathy with such arguments, but adjournments delay access to justice for claimants and can result in substantial additional costs.  

What are the main challenges of managing a global business in your role as chair of the offshore group?

I am fortunate to have a cohesive offshore group within Grant Thornton, whose members regularly work across jurisdictions on some of our larger cases. The challenge of managing an effective offshore group is ensuring sufficient investment is available to enable seamless levels of service across the jurisdictions. 

Additionally, the offshore businesses seeing themselves as part of a global group, as opposed to individual businesses, is critical to achieving the collaboration that you need. 

What does your role as president of the Insolvency Practitioners Association (IPA) entail and how does this enhance your practice?

My role entails a number of things, including chairing the board of directors of the IPA and continuing to evolve and implement its strategy to be the UK’s prominent insolvency regulator. 

The role means time away from developing my practice – but seeing first hand the challenges faced by the regulator does provide great insight, which can enable operational improvements to my own practice. 

Can you tell us about the growing importance of Singapore in asset recovery?

Singapore is an extremely important financial centre. I am fortunate to be involved in the development of our advisory practice in Singapore, which has been an area of focus for us in the past 12 months. 

From an asset recovery perspective, the market in Singapore is changing. The increased availability of litigation funding, together with the integrity of the court systems in the region, make it an attractive place for litigating disputes. 

I see Singapore as an increasingly important centre for our global business and a critical component of any effective offshore group. 

Grant Thornton is currently working on co-financed vehicles for general recovery cases. To what extent do you expect this to increase in significance in the new normal, where an uptick of litigation is expected?

When acting in litigation or asset recovery assignments, finding ways of meeting the costs of recovery is always a challenge. Our role is to find solutions for victims – developing co-financed vehicles to enable us to provide the funding, as well as the expertise to bring the cases, seems to me to be a natural development of the practice. 

Given the impact that this has had in the market, we anticipate links between financial institutions, lawyers and practitioners to enable claims to be brought to become increasingly common in the future. 

What is the best career advice you have received?

I don’t recall ever getting career advice as such. My early career thoughts included the marines, the police and many other things with a common thread of “righting wrongs”. In the end, I read law at university and that ultimately led to my role in insolvency. 

When I asked my dad about what I should do he would say, “Whatever you choose to do just make sure you always give it your best, because if you’ve done your best that’s good enough for anyone.” 

It didn’t seem to be that helpful at the time, but it’s probably the best advice I have ever received and is something I have often reflected on.  

Global Leader

Asset Recovery - Experts 2021

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

Peers and clients say:

"Kevin is correctly regarded as one of the leading insolvency practitioners in London"
"A real go-to asset recovery specialist on complex cross-border matters"
"Commercially and strategically astute"
"A shrewd tactician"

Biography

Kevin Hellard is practice leader of Grant Thornton’s Insolvency and asset recovery practice, the largest dedicated contentious insolvency and asset recovery team incorporating resource across key offshore financial centres.

Kevin has 30 years' experience of contentious insolvency investigating fraud, misfeasance, professional negligence, and asset tracing across multiple jurisdictions including the BVI, Cayman Islands, Singapore, Dubai, Hong Kong, Switzerland as well as South America and eastern Europe.

Kevin and his team specialise in the use of insolvency and court-appointed receiverships as a tool in the identification and construction of claims against the perpetrators of fraud and those who assisted them. His team incorporates many of the most well-known and respected names within the asset recovery field, which has led to them taking some of the most high-profile asset recovery projects in the UK and offshore financial centres in recent years.

Under Kevin’s leadership, Grant Thornton’s asset recovery business has developed a host of complementary services including director services, corporate intelligence and the Asset recovery fund (a specialist enforcement fund established to provide third-party financing for large and complex asset recovery claims).

Kevin is appointed both in the UK and globally over structures that have suffered losses caused by corruption, fraud or malpractice. Routinely appointed by Lawyers, significant creditors and by governments to investigate corruption of the previous regimes and the tracing, recovery and repatriation of misappropriated assets.

Kevin has given evidence in court on numerous occasions. He has presented internationally on corruption and asset tracing, with a number of articles published on these subjects.

Kevin is President of the Insolvency Practitioners Association, the leading regulator of insolvency activity in the UK.

Kevin Hellard “comes highly recommended by sources as “one of the most high-profile practitioners in London” and is hailed as “at the forefront of major asset recovery matters globally”

WWL Ranking: Recommended
WWL Ranking: Recommended
WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

"He's able to proceed complex matters with great efficiency and able to implement new techniques to identify diverted funds"
"He makes excellent use of technology to assist the review of large volumes of data"
"He's extremely technically strong, creative and commercial in his problem solving"
"He has established the number one fraud recovery practice out there"

Biography

Kevin Hellard is practice leader of Grant Thornton’s Insolvency and asset recovery practice, the largest dedicated contentious insolvency and asset recovery team and incorporates resource across the key offshore financial centres. He has 30 years' experience of contentious insolvency investigating fraud, misfeasance, professional negligence, and asset tracing across multiple jurisdictions including the BVI, Cayman Islands, Singapore, Dubai, Hong Kong Switzerland as well as South America and eastern Europe.

Kevin and his team specialise in the use of insolvency and court-appointed receiverships as a tool in the identification and construction of claims against directors, advisers and others. His team have taken some of the most high-profile asset recovery projects in the UK and offshore financial centres in recent years. He has overseen development of complementary services within Grant Thornton’s asset recovery business including funding, director services and corporate intelligence.

Kevin is routinely appointed by lawyers, government and other regulatory agencies, and significant creditors. Appointed both in the UK and globally over structures that have suffered losses caused by corruption, fraud or malpractice. He has been instructed by governments to investigate corruption of the previous regimes and the tracing, recovery and repatriation of misappropriated assets.

Kevin has given evidence in court on numerous occasions as officeholder of companies, who are the victims of fraud. He has presented internationally on corruption and asset tracing, with a number of articles published on these subjects.

Kevin is President of the Insolvency Practitioners Association, the leading regulator of insolvency activity in the UK.

Sources note that Kevin Hellard “possesses decades of experience unravelling offshore structures” and comes highly recommended by sources as “one of the most high-profile practitioners in London”.

Law Business Research
Law Business Research Ltd
Meridian House, 34-35 Farringdon Street
London EC4A 4HL, UK
© Law Business Research Ltd 1998-2021. All rights reserved.
Company No.: 03281866