Montek Mayal is a senior managing director in FTI Consulting. He founded and leads the economic consulting practice in India. He mainly focuses on the assessment of quantum, financial, economic and valuation issues in contentious and non-contentious matters. He has experience in the valuation of businesses and shares, calculation of lost profits, economic and financial analysis, and spectrum auctions. He has testified before commercial tribunals over 12 times (2017-2020) in claims worth between US$5 million and US$1.5 billion. He has also acted as an expert in competition and antitrust matters in India. He is a CFA and CVA charterholder.
Describe your career to date.
I joined the field rather unexpectedly out of college (Colgate University, New York). With my mathematics and computer science background, I was aiming to pursue a career in investment banking. In that pursuit, I met many people working in firms similar to FTI Consulting. I was particularly drawn by the interaction of finance and law in expert witness work. I was subsequently recruited (as a research analyst) in the newly established London office of FTI Consulting, working directly with two of the leading experts globally: Chris Osborne and Mark Bezant.
I was in London for almost three years working on some of the highest-value, most complex international arbitration cases including those arising from the 2008 global financial crisis. In 2011-2012, I helped expand our recently set-up Asia practice out of Singapore. I continued to work on valuation-oriented disputes cases and advising clients on telecom spectrum auctions (a field of work I was pulled into in my early days in London). It was during this time that the senior leadership team at FTI were rather supportive of my ambition to explore India as a potential market for our work. This finally resulted in an opportunity for me at a relatively young age to move back home to set up FTI’s economic consulting and expert witness practice in India in September 2014.
Since relocating to India, I have continued to focus on quantification of damages and expert witness work in both domestic and international commercial and investment disputes, and in competition matters in India. I have testified on numerous matters across various industries in multiple jurisdictions including London, the USA, Singapore, Paris and of course, India. We have built a strong, leading team in the market across Delhi and Mumbai, and have worked on claims worth over US$5 billion in the last two years alone.
On what sorts of matters are you most active at present?
We are currently seeing disputes arising from a wide spectrum of issues and developments, really. Perhaps it is slightly more tilted towards post-M&A disputes and the wider set of joint-venture and shareholder disputes, in many cases resulting from allegations of misrepresentations, fraud, and indemnity-related claims but also mismanagement concerns and non-performance of the underlying contract (for example, put and call options). The key question often in such disputes is the value of a block of shares or the entire underlying business. I am also acting as an expert in many IP-related disputes where there is an allegation of infringement or theft.
What are the current challenges expert witnesses face in contentious proceedings in India?
The biggest challenge remains awareness of the availability and proper use of experts in complex, commercial disputes. This must be further supported by the judiciary and tribunals seeking well-reasoned quantum claims, allowing the process and procedures of presenting and challenging expert evidence to develop, and recognising the contributions that experts might add (for example, by referring to their work where appropriate in awards). An unintended consequence of this wider problem is that expert evidence is not considered (and perhaps not understood) as strongly as it is in more mature jurisdictions such as the UK, the US and Singapore.
How has the approach to quantifying economic damages evolved since you first began practising?
Globally, I think I have seen two sets of broader changes. First, the continuing development of the law of damages and therefore, the appropriate framework to apply to quantifying damages. Second, increasing access to high-quality data, financial records and advanced techniques that allow for better quantitative examination and analysis supporting key quantum and damages conclusions. This often leads to a more objective assessment of critical questions relating to quantum, finance, accounting and economics issues.
What are the benefits of using concurrent expert evidence, or hot-tubbing, to provide expert testimony?
If done properly, it narrows the key issues (to the principal areas of disagreement) in a dispute and forces experts to engage properly on those issues. This means the relevant evidence is presented to the tribunal or the court at the same time, with experts being allowed to express their views or analysis properly, which then reduces the likelihood of any bias but also limits any expert trying to dodge an answer.
What is the most memorable arbitration you have been a part of?
One of my most memorable matters was a large, complex (failed) joint venture dispute arising out of the global financial crisis of 2008-2009 – a US$15 billion dispute. It was memorable because it was my very first matter at FTI and I had the opportunity to work directly with some of the firm’s top experts; therefore, the learning curve was rather steep, and my role expanded quite quickly. Additionally, the damages problem was rather interesting: dealing with the valuation of a large global enterprise with operations and assets in multiple continents where the underlying economics of the business were evolving and being challenged on account of severe dislocations, in part arising from the financial crisis but also more fundamental disruptions. It was the case that convinced me quite quickly to build my career at FTI.
What can more experienced experts do to help younger experts get appointments?
By seeking joint testifying opportunities (where counsel and client are comfortable) and positioning younger experts on smaller matters where the more experienced experts might provide supervisory assistance. FTI is really good at doing both!
What advice would you give to aspiring expert witnesses?
Never stop learning, always be honest, and – as my mentor recently said – get a job at FTI!
Montek Mayal is hailed as the “go-to expert for matters in India” by clients who applaud his “level of expertise and international exposure”.
Montek Mayal is a managing director in the New Delhi office of FTI Consulting. Montek founded and leads FTI’s economic consulting and international arbitration practice in India.
Montek’s primary area of focus is in the assessment of quantum, financial, economic and valuation issues in contentious and non-contentious matters.
He has a broad range of experience in issues including valuation, spectrum auctions, calculation of lost profits and market and economic analysis, research and study. He has developed and designed a number of quantitative models to value and forecast different aspects of businesses.
His industry experience encompasses telecommunications, oil and gas, financial services, industrial gases, real estate and hospitality, consumer and branded goods, media, chemicals, diversified and industrial materials and aviation.
Montek has acted, or is currently acting, as sole or joint expert for separate parties across various industries, in domestic and international arbitrations and in competition matters in India. Montek has testified on a number of occasions in 2017 and 2018.
Montek has also advised leading telecom and cable operators on bidding strategy and provided support on issues concerning game theory, auction design and rules and bidding behaviour in major telecom auctions, globally.
Montek graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in mathematics and computer science from Colgate University in 2009. He is a CVA and CFA charter holder.
Montek is currently a vice chairman of the Society of Construction Law in India and member of the steering committee of the Young MCIA. He also previously served on the board of a joint venture with Intel Capital in the field of robotic surgeries in India and served as the interim CEO for a major travel services company.