Steve Cornmell
Office:
The Shard
32 London Bridge Street
SE1 9SG
City:
London
Country:
England
Tel:
+44 20 7089 4747

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders - Investigations

Steve Cornmell is a managing director in the London disputes and investigations practice of Duff & Phelps. Steve has worked in the forensic accounting sector for over 25 years. He has extensive experience of providing forensic accounting expertise in relation to commercial disputes and financial investigations. He has acted for corporate clients in investigations of alleged fraud and accounting irregularity. He has extensive experience of criminal fraud investigations having assisted UK prosecuting authorities on a range of inquiries.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO SPECIALISE IN CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS?

I trained in audit where I assisted clients who had suffered accounting breakdown. I had the opportunity to work on fraud and criminal investigations and developed specialism from there. I enjoyed working within a collaborative environment of multidisciplinary teams of lawyers and law enforcement professionals and adding value to complex investigations.

YOU HAVE ADVISED A RANGE OF PUBLIC AND PRIVATE-SECTOR ENTITIES. TO WHAT EXTENT DOES THIS BROAD EXPERIENCE HELP IN YOUR ROLE AS A FORENSIC EXPERT?

Hopefully, not too many surprises and I can navigate a solution to the issue as quickly as possible with the minimum of disruption. A positive aspect of the work is that you never know what you are going to get with each new case. However, it is vital to break a matter down to its basics and plot the way forward, and a wider experience of cases always helps with this.

HOW HAS THE FALL IN THE PRICE OF OIL AFFECTED YOUR INVESTIGATIONS PRACTICE?

It has not impacted on investigations work specifically, as far as my practice is concerned. I have seen increases in disputes between parties as the reduced oil price has made some contracts and arrangements uncommercial such that parties seek to break them.

HOW CAN FIRMS BEST ADAPT TO AN INVESTIGATIONS MARKET THAT IS BECOMING INCREASINGLY GLOBALISED?

By reducing barriers to collaboration and offering seamless service across borders. Firms can sometimes get tied up in internal procedures and “turf wars”, which risks delaying a response when the client needs action. Clients want to know that they will receive a joined-up, high-quality service wherever and by whoever the work is performed.

WHERE DO YOU EXPECT TO SEE MARKET GROWTH OVER THE COMING YEARS?

Increasing legislation and government scrutiny internationally. Various “failure to prevent” legislation plus national enforcement agencies seeking a wider remit for activities outside their immediate jurisdiction will widen the scope of cross-border investigations. Previously, people were concerned with the long arm of US law enforcement; however, there is an increasing number of national enforcement agencies who are looking at activities outside their borders.

HOW DO YOU SEE THE ROLE OF THE FORENSIC EXPERT CHANGING OVER THE COMING YEARS?

Clients are more specific about the expertise that they require, which reflects the maturity of the forensic market and its users and emphasises the need for real expertise.

WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENT TO DATE?

I am always proud when we are able to resolve a situation to the benefit of our clients. Forensic investigations tend to be a distressed purchase when an organisation is in trouble or has suffered harm. Assisting a client right the ship and move forward is always the objective and it is always satisfying when we are able to achieve this.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE LOOKING TO START A CAREER AS A FORENSIC EXPERT?

Get as broad a range of experience as possible and expect to work hard. It is very rare that a case or investigation turns on a single piece of evidence. More typically, it’s about joining the dots and seeing the full picture.

Biographies:

Who's Who Legal Consulting Experts: Experts - Investigations - Forensic Accountants

Steve Cornmell, is a managing director in the London Disputes & Investigations practice of Duff & Phelps. 

Steve has worked in the forensic accounting sector for 25 years. He has a wide range of experience of commercial litigation and disputes and is a specialist in financial investigation.  He has extensive experience of providing forensic accounting expertise in relation to commercial disputes and financial investigations.

Steve has acted as expert in a wide range of cases and has provided evidence in person in the criminal and commercial courts, international arbitration tribunals and disciplinary hearings brought by professional bodies. He has provided expert evidence regarding the quantification of damages and in relation to technical accounting matters.

He has also acted for numerous corporate clients in investigations of alleged fraud and accounting irregularity and breakdown.  He has assisted insolvency professionals in investigating the circumstances surrounding the failure of businesses, and led efforts to trace and recover corporate funds.

He has extensive experience of criminal fraud investigation having assisted the UK Serious Fraud Office, amongst others, on a wide range of enquiries involving fraudulent trading, theft and false accounting.  He has acted as expert for police forces and prosecution agencies in relation to the prosecution of money laundering and fraud offences. He has twice been appointed as an inspector in respect of Companies Act and Insider Dealing enquiries. He has also acted in the defence of individuals charged with serious fraud and money laundering offences.

Steve has extensive experience of asset tracing and the recovery of the proceeds of crime. He has assisted government agencies in the quantification of losses and the pursuit of confiscation proceedings. He has assisted overseas governments in tracing monies allegedly stolen by former heads of state.

Steve has extensive experience of professional negligence investigations, particularly those involving alleged audit failure involving the failure to identify fraud. He has assisted the UK professional regulator in investigations regarding the conduct of audit firms and members and has provided expert evidence in professional disciplinary tribunals.  He has assisted liquidators in bringing claims against the auditors of collapsed businesses.  He has also assisted global accounting firms in defending allegations of audit failure.

Steve’s cases have covered a broad range of business sectors, including oil and gas, metals, automotive, construction, property, industrials, financial services, hotels, and retail. His cases have involved a wide geographical spread and have included matters in continental Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the UK and US.

Steve was previously a partner in a global accounting firm where he was the managing partner of the UK Forensic and Investigation Services practice, and where he was also responsible for the development of the legal technology services function.

Steve is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. He is a graduate of politics.

WWL says: Steve Cornmell is widely respected by peers in the market who commend his specialist experience in fraud investigations as a forensic accountant.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Consulting Experts which can be purchased from our Shop.

Who's Who Legal Investigations: Forensic Accountants

Steve Cornmell, is a managing director in the London Disputes & Investigations practice of Duff & Phelps. 

Steve has worked in the forensic accounting sector for 25 years. He has a wide range of experience of commercial litigation and disputes and is a specialist in financial investigation.  He has extensive experience of providing forensic accounting expertise in relation to commercial disputes and financial investigations.

Steve has acted as expert in a wide range of cases and has provided evidence in person in the criminal and commercial courts, international arbitration tribunals and disciplinary hearings brought by professional bodies. He has provided expert evidence regarding the quantification of damages and in relation to technical accounting matters.

He has also acted for numerous corporate clients in investigations of alleged fraud and accounting irregularity and breakdown.  He has assisted insolvency professionals in investigating the circumstances surrounding the failure of businesses, and led efforts to trace and recover corporate funds.

He has extensive experience of criminal fraud investigation having assisted the UK Serious Fraud Office, amongst others, on a wide range of enquiries involving fraudulent trading, theft and false accounting.  He has acted as expert for police forces and prosecution agencies in relation to the prosecution of money laundering and fraud offences. He has twice been appointed as an inspector in respect of Companies Act and Insider Dealing enquiries. He has also acted in the defence of individuals charged with serious fraud and money laundering offences.

Steve has extensive experience of asset tracing and the recovery of the proceeds of crime. He has assisted government agencies in the quantification of losses and the pursuit of confiscation proceedings. He has assisted overseas governments in tracing monies allegedly stolen by former heads of state.

Steve has extensive experience of professional negligence investigations, particularly those involving alleged audit failure involving the failure to identify fraud. He has assisted the UK professional regulator in investigations regarding the conduct of audit firms and members and has provided expert evidence in professional disciplinary tribunals.  He has assisted liquidators in bringing claims against the auditors of collapsed businesses.  He has also assisted global accounting firms in defending allegations of audit failure.

Steve’s cases have covered a broad range of business sectors, including oil and gas, metals, automotive, construction, property, industrials, financial services, hotels, and retail. His cases have involved a wide geographical spread and have included matters in continental Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and the UK and US.

Steve was previously a partner in a global accounting firm where he was the managing partner of the UK Forensic and Investigation Services practice, and where he was also responsible for the development of the legal technology services function.

Steve is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. He is a graduate of politics.

WWL says: Steve Cornmell draws strong support from peers in the space for his deep understanding of issues including fraudulent trading, share ramping and money laundering.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Investigations which can be purchased from our Shop.

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