Montek Mayal is a senior managing director in FTI’s Economic Consulting practice in India, which he founded and leads. Montek’s primary area of focus is in the assessment of quantum, financial, economic and valuation issues in contentious and non-contentious matters. His experience includes valuation of businesses and shares, calculation of lost profits, spectrum auctions and market and economic analysis. He has testified before commercial tribunals on a number of occasions in 2017 and 2018. 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 CFA and CVA charterholder.
What attracted you to a career in economic consulting and expert witnessing?
It was really an unexpected development in my life. I was recruited straight out of college (Colgate University, New York). I was pursuing a degree in mathematics and computer science, and numbers really interested me. I was aiming to pursue a career in investment banking and during that pursuit, I met many people working in firms similar to FTI Consulting. During the course of my discussions with such individuals, I was drawn by the interaction of finance (and my love for numbers) and law in expert witness work. I was subsequently fortunate enough to get an offer from FTI working directly with two leading experts globally (Chris Osborne and Mark Bezant) in the newly established London office. I couldn’t resist.
What did you find most challenging about entering this area?
Being pulled into new areas and complexities on each new case. As I said previously, I started my career in this field. But in my 10th year, I have realised there is no template approach to solving high-value, complex disputes involving critical issues around finance, economics, accounting and valuation. Of course, with no official legal background, getting up to speed quickly on concepts that affect our work directly was no easy task!
How has the market changed since you started practising?
I think I have personally seen two sets of changes. First, the continuing development of the law of damages and the increasing ability of tribunals to grapple with difficult questions of finance and economics. This is supported by better access to high-quality data and techniques that allow for better analysis supporting key quantum and damages conclusions. The second big change is the geographical role of experts who are expanding quickly into newer markets, especially emerging markets. I moved to India in September 2014 and in the four years I have been here, the market for the work we do has developed rather fast – again, underpinned by the judiciary and tribunals asking for well-reasoned quantum claims.
What do clients for in an effective expert witness?
I think the answer is partly in the question. First, expertise in the expert’s field of study/ work, and an acute understanding of the arbitration process. These are critical in ensuring opinions given are backed up by thorough research and analysis, and are in line with how the relevant period of study has evolved over time. The second thing is honesty. It is important to address key issues transparently and deal with evidence available properly.
What steps do you take to prepare for an arbitration?
My work sits at the intersection of theory, practice and facts. The first two must be up to date and a practitioner must follow the progression of their practice over time. Therefore, this means constant study and preparation. The final limb is specific to each case and it is critical for an expert to fully understand the facts and analyse how they interact with the question he or she has been asked to answer. So when preparing for an arbitration I ensure I have a full and proper understanding of the facts and understand what that might mean for the work I have undertaken. Additionally, I must be conscious of the points raised by the other side and how those affect my analysis and, in turn, conclusions.
How do you see your practice developing over the next five years?
In my view, the answer depends on how you define the practice. If I was talking about my immediate practice of expert witness work focused on India, the recent trends will continue as the role of experts advances further, and questions of quantum are answered and properly supported by thorough research and analysis. Globally, I think the profession will move towards objective assessment of critical questions of quantum, finance, accounting and economics. Access to data, use of analytics and artificial intelligence and increasing computing power will result in better answers to more difficult questions. I think tribunals will start demanding for more robust assessment of quantum questions in line with how the wider field of corporate finance develops.
What makes FTI Consulting stand out from its competitors in the market?
In short, the tremendous amount of talent the firm holds. As a leading expert witness practice, FTI has deep expertise and significant experience across various sectors, industries, issues and problems – spread across all main geographies. This also means on each matter – regardless of its complexity and scale – the firm is able to put together the right team to solve the largest problems and address the most challenging quantum questions. The firm also continually invests in training, and therefore the experts and the team supporting the experts are always ahead of the curve, applying best practices to the cases they work on. Our team is seen as the market-leading team of top experts globally.
What is the best piece of career advice you have ever received?
Preparation is absolutely the key to success. I remain committed to that statement.
Montek Mayal is singled out by respondents for his “clarity, depth of knowledge and articulate manner”. He has extensive expertise in natural resources and telecommunications matters, among other areas.
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.