Who's Who Legal
Who's Who Legal
New to Who's Who Legal?
New to Who's Who Legal?
Menu
User Menu
New to Who's Who Legal?
Thought Leaders

Thought Leaders

Richard Chalk

Richard Chalk

Ankura55 Bishopsgate2nd FloorLondonEnglandEC2N 3AS

Thought Leader

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader
Thought Leaders - Data - Data Experts 2020

Q&A

WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Richard Chalk provides “excellent client services and is focused on the latest innovations”. He is “able to spot specific legal issues” and is “extremely good at responding to a crisis”.

Questions & Answers

Richard Chalk is a managing director at Ankura. He has extensive experience providing expert advice around data-driven events, including financial crime and compliance investigations, litigation, valuation disputes and general distressed situations. He has considerable experience in cases concerning anti-money laundering, sanctions, tax evasion, fraud and corruption, with a strength in applying advanced data analytics to manage risk and investigate historical issues. He continues to assist clients with their risk, compliance and litigation challenges.

What is the most interesting case you have been a part of?

Several of the large financial services cases from the 2008 global financial crisis were certainly memorable. The complexity and volumes of transactional data drove us to innovate in the moment, with many cases being headline-grabbing in nature. If I had to pick the most interesting, it would be a large Ponzi scheme investigation in 2009. The scale of the fraud was enormous. Our analytics clearly separated those involved in the scheme from the victims, which was impressive to see. The most professionally rewarding case would be a recent DOJ/OFAC sanctions investigation, for which I travelled to Washington, DC to present on the data analytics methodologies and findings.

What do you enjoy most about working as a data expert?

Using data to provide insight into an unknown situation or event is rewarding. Clients continue to leverage their data more effectively and creatively, which makes them more receptive to our approaches in this space. Data-related challenges will continue to stem from emerging or evolving regulations, but also from the need for operational superiority. 

What impact do you think covid-19 will have on regulatory investigations?

I’m sure by the time this goes to print, the situation will be completely different. Companies will likely continue to move towards allowing remote support, in preference to those on-site and complying with social distancing, which looks set to remain for a while.

Several regulators have issued reminders around compliance obligations, encouraging anyone anticipating delays and concerns to initiate contact. They emphasise not introducing heightened risk through short-term operational adjustments, and formally assessing and documenting these changes. We will likely see fraud and compliance issues relating to the era of covid-19 resurface down the line. 

What do clients look for in an effective data specialist?

A trustworthy team that can position achievable solutions in line with emerging techniques. Data comes in many shapes and sizes, so being well versed in these will ensure proposed approaches are viable and unlikely to fail. I believe effective data specialists also need strong stakeholder management experience and the ability to distil complex technical information into key points. While many regulators, courts and executives are far more data-literate, no one wants to see eyes rolling while recounting technical points to a microscopic level of detail.

What is the greatest challenge in transactional data analysis? 

Transactional — or structured — data is primarily associated with core enterprise systems and applications. Companies can implement commercially available systems, many of which are customised. Almost every client we’ve worked with also developed proprietary systems. These are often poorly documented, and the development team is no longer available to answer questions. It becomes challenging to base analysis on data without understanding its nuances. This documentation and reverse-engineering process can be complex and introduce delays. People may not consider the need to effectively interrogate these systems when developing these platforms. We’ve also seen poorly developed data export solutions that introduced data corruption issues, which can be very challenging to detect and remediate.

Money laundering operations remain a complex issue, aided by globalisation, contrasting regulation and technology. What tools are practitioners using to combat such complexities?

Criminals have an advantage in that they can leverage multiple institutions and target weak, uncoordinated controls. They often leverage complex ownership networks to disguise the beneficial owner (or owners). Network analytics is an important tool to approach some of these challenges. Access to an ever-improving external data coverage enables network enrichment and categorisation through the application of automation and machine learning. Improving data quality and integration continues to be important. Developing single customer/entity views within global institutions can help avoid gaps being exploited, which can be a challenging task for a variety of reasons. Taking these data aggregation and categorisation steps away from individuals allows them to focus on more complex decision-making. 

What is the key to successfully conducting international financial crime compliance reviews?

Structure and communication across and within teams is key. These elements incorporate agreed and explainable methodologies with all involved parties, including the enforcement bodies. You and your client will not want to be several months into a review only to have gaps or concerns flagged. If you are using machine learning techniques to discount data, ensure these are agreed in advance.

Develop mechanisms to avoid double counting violations, should banking secrecy/data privacy restrictions force multiple regional/country level investigations. This approach obviously depends on the scale of issues identified; if only a handful are identified per region, it is far more straightforward, compared to thousands. Pooling data centrally can drive more effective, efficient analysis.

What advice would you give to someone starting out as a data specialist?

Get a broad base of data analytics experience across multiple industries, in multiple roles, before focusing. You will be surprised at how siloed some areas can be. Broader knowledge will allow you to cherry-pick the most suitable roles, which in turn helps innovation. Focus on understanding data structures, normalisation and standardisation, before analytical techniques. Think like an apprentice: invest in getting as much exposure as possible before slicing data with analytics. 

Global Leader

Data - Data Experts 2020

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Richard Chalk provides “excellent client services and is focused on the latest innovations”. He is “able to spot specific legal issues” and is “extremely good at responding to a crisis”.

Biography

Richard Chalk is a managing director at Ankura, based in London with over ten years’ experience providing expert advice around data driven events, including financial crime and compliance investigations; litigation; insolvencies; valuation disputes; management consulting; and general distressed situations. He has been recognised in the Who’s Who Legal directory in the investigations, data and e-discovery, and data consulting categories.

Richard has demonstrated his experience on multiple anti-money laundering (AML), sanctions/The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), with a strength in Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) message analytics. More specifically he has assisted clients in identifying their exposure to compliance, fraud and corruption issues.

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Richard Chalk is celebrated for the superb quality of data analyses he provides in high-profile investigations.

Biography

Richard Chalk is a managing director at Ankura and specialises in structured data arising from business information systems and has run risk review projects and provided complex data analyses to a range of Global 500 clients. His clients are domiciled in the USA, the EU and Asia. Richard has led engagements involving widely recognised and bespoke financial and transactional databases to assess risk controls, compliance reporting, workflow processes and overall data integrity. His experience includes database creation and analysis. He is involved in Ankura’s development of business intelligence reporting systems, innovations in e-discovery review tools and advanced analytics initiatives.

Richard has demonstrated his experience on multiple OFAC, FATCA, FCPA and AML related projects. More specifically he has assisted clients in identifying their exposure to compliance, fraud, and corruption issues, by deploying data identification, collection, analysis and review techniques.

He recently worked on an OFAC sanctions look-back matter relating to a large Middle Eastern financial institution. This resulted in Richard presenting findings to OFAC, the DOJ, the FBI, the IRS and the SDNY. The look-back included 10 years of transactional activity regarding its US-dollar clearing and related activity through US and non-US banks, including trade finance activities and book-to-book transfers with possible US-dollar clearing. The review included tens of millions of SWIFT messages, 500,000 trade finance files and millions of book-to-book transfers.

He also advised on an OFAC sanctions investigation into a global financial institution. SWIFT interbank communication messages were extracted, processed and reviewed to identify transactions that were not compliant with the sanctions list. Over 1 billion messages were reduced to 150 million, and over 14 countries were involved in the investigation. Messages were screened against SDNs/PEPs/customised listings to uncover suspicious payments, and then linked in a bespoke social networking programme to reconstruct the full transaction and all associated messages.

In addition, Richard was part of the independent examiner (IE) team responsible for auditing a data request from a Swiss private bank – a matter that related to a FATCA-influenced agreement between the DOJ and the Swiss Federal Department of Finance in producing information around US-related accounts. Richard was responsible for auditing and validating all technical aspects of identifying accounts based on the prescribed US indicia, and ensuring the bank produced all requested account and transaction-level information in line with the programme. This involved analysing a large number of database queries across multiple platforms (CRM, account holder, transactional) and ensuring all results were reviewed and integrated into the final production.

Richard also led an FCPA investigation for a major beverage distributor in response to allegations of bribing public officials for favourable import tax benefits. The company was threatened with a ban from multiple Asian markets as a result. Richard was brought into the investigation to secure communications and data from 27 structured data systems, in order to follow the fund flow. He uncovered evidence to support the allegations and a scheme to pay the private-school bills of officials’ children by the tax leads in various countries, in direct disregard of company policy and senior officials’ instructions. The company was able to identify and control the issues, and settled so as to avoid the potential crippling ban.

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Richard Chalk is highly distinguished for his outstanding work providing forensics on major AML-related cases for multinational financial institutions.

Biography

Richard Chalk is a managing director at Ankura and specialises in structured data arising from business information systems and has run risk review projects and provided complex data analyses to a range of Global 500 clients. His clients are domiciled in the USA, the EU and Asia. Richard has led engagements involving widely recognised and bespoke financial and transactional databases to assess risk controls, compliance reporting, workflow processes and overall data integrity. His experience includes database creation and analysis. He is involved in Ankura’s development of business intelligence reporting systems, innovations in e-discovery review tools and advanced analytics initiatives.

Richard has demonstrated his experience on multiple OFAC, FATCA, FCPA and AML related projects. More specifically he has assisted clients in identifying their exposure to compliance, fraud, and corruption issues, by deploying data identification, collection, analysis and review techniques.

He recently worked on an OFAC sanctions look-back matter relating to a large Middle Eastern financial institution. This resulted in Richard presenting findings to OFAC, the DOJ, the FBI, the IRS and the SDNY. The look-back included 10 years of transactional activity regarding its US-dollar clearing and related activity through US and non-US banks, including trade finance activities and book-to-book transfers with possible US-dollar clearing. The review included tens of millions of SWIFT messages, 500,000 trade finance files and millions of book-to-book transfers.

He also advised on an OFAC sanctions investigation into a global financial institution. SWIFT interbank communication messages were extracted, processed and reviewed to identify transactions that were not compliant with the sanctions list. Over 1 billion messages were reduced to 150 million, and over 14 countries were involved in the investigation. Messages were screened against SDNs/PEPs/customised listings to uncover suspicious payments, and then linked in a bespoke social networking programme to reconstruct the full transaction and all associated messages.

In addition, Richard was part of the independent examiner (IE) team responsible for auditing a data request from a Swiss private bank – a matter that related to a FATCA-influenced agreement between the DOJ and the Swiss Federal Department of Finance in producing information around US-related accounts. Richard was responsible for auditing and validating all technical aspects of identifying accounts based on the prescribed US indicia, and ensuring the bank produced all requested account and transaction-level information in line with the programme. This involved analysing a large number of database queries across multiple platforms (CRM, account holder, transactional) and ensuring all results were reviewed and integrated into the final production.

Richard also led an FCPA investigation for a major beverage distributor in response to allegations of bribing public officials for favourable import tax benefits. The company was threatened with a ban from multiple Asian markets as a result. Richard was brought into the investigation to secure communications and data from 27 structured data systems, in order to follow the fund flow. He uncovered evidence to support the allegations and a scheme to pay the private-school bills of officials’ children by the tax leads in various countries, in direct disregard of company policy and senior officials’ instructions. The company was able to identify and control the issues, and settled so as to avoid the potential crippling ban.

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

The "excellent" Richard Chalk is a leading expert in investigations involving data matters, and stands out for his "simple and easy-to-understand" explanations of complex issues.

Biography

Richard Chalk is a managing director at Ankura and specialises in structured data arising from business information systems and has run risk review projects and provided complex data analyses to a range of Global 500 clients. His clients are domiciled in the USA, the EU and Asia. Richard has led engagements involving widely recognised and bespoke financial and transactional databases to assess risk controls, compliance reporting, workflow processes and overall data integrity. His experience includes database creation and analysis. He is involved in Ankura’s development of business intelligence reporting systems, innovations in e-discovery review tools and advanced analytics initiatives.

Richard has demonstrated his experience on multiple OFAC, FATCA, FCPA and AML related projects. More specifically he has assisted clients in identifying their exposure to compliance, fraud, and corruption issues, by deploying data identification, collection, analysis and review techniques.

He recently worked on an OFAC sanctions look-back matter relating to a large Middle Eastern financial institution. This resulted in Richard presenting findings to OFAC, the DOJ, the FBI, the IRS and the SDNY. The look-back included 10 years of transactional activity regarding its US-dollar clearing and related activity through US and non-US banks, including trade finance activities and book-to-book transfers with possible US-dollar clearing. The review included tens of millions of SWIFT messages, 500,000 trade finance files and millions of book-to-book transfers.

He also advised on an OFAC sanctions investigation into a global financial institution. SWIFT interbank communication messages were extracted, processed and reviewed to identify transactions that were not compliant with the sanctions list. Over 1 billion messages were reduced to 150 million, and over 14 countries were involved in the investigation. Messages were screened against SDNs/PEPs/customised listings to uncover suspicious payments, and then linked in a bespoke social networking programme to reconstruct the full transaction and all associated messages.

In addition, Richard was part of the independent examiner (IE) team responsible for auditing a data request from a Swiss private bank – a matter that related to a FATCA-influenced agreement between the DOJ and the Swiss Federal Department of Finance in producing information around US-related accounts. Richard was responsible for auditing and validating all technical aspects of identifying accounts based on the prescribed US indicia, and ensuring the bank produced all requested account and transaction-level information in line with the programme. This involved analysing a large number of database queries across multiple platforms (CRM, account holder, transactional) and ensuring all results were reviewed and integrated into the final production.

Richard also led an FCPA investigation for a major beverage distributor in response to allegations of bribing public officials for favourable import tax benefits. The company was threatened with a ban from multiple Asian markets as a result. Richard was brought into the investigation to secure communications and data from 27 structured data systems, in order to follow the fund flow. He uncovered evidence to support the allegations and a scheme to pay the private-school bills of officials’ children by the tax leads in various countries, in direct disregard of company policy and senior officials’ instructions. The company was able to identify and control the issues, and settled so as to avoid the potential crippling ban.

Law Business Research
Law Business Research Ltd
Meridian House, 34-35 Farringdon Street
London EC4A 4HL, UK
© Law Business Research Ltd 1998-2020. All rights reserved.
Company No.: 03281866