When do clients usually carry out due diligence?
We’re usually first engaged ahead of a critical decision which needs to be taken by senior leadership – this can include:
- Investing or divesting in a company or venture.
- Entering a new market.
- Hiring a new member of the C-Suite or Board.
- Engaging a vendor or local partner, particularly in a high risk sector or geography.
- Being bought or engaging in a Mergers & Acquisitions process.
- Changing the structure and make-up of the supply chain.
- Engaging more technically risky vendors, such as carbon credits providers.
In essence, enhanced or investigative due diligence is conducted when a client just needs more information to make a decision confidently and in possession of the full facts.
What kinds of due diligence can be carried out?
Getting to a coherent and actionable answer (which we call ‘intelligence’) tends to include fusing together a range of different sources and cross referencing information. The sources we tend to look to include:
- Human source enquiries from knowledgeable individuals close to the subject, either directly or through experienced ‘source handlers’.
- Social media collection and analysis using specialist tools.
- Engaging with law enforcement.
- Accessing closed-source databases looking at convictions, sanctions, and adverse media.
- Utilising ‘credit consented’ databases to look for financial, residency, mortality and other information which could be relevant.
- Deploying consultants to carry out covert approaches or site visits.
- Use of commercially available satellite imagery and video.
- Reviewing databases of vehicle movements (such as shipping and aviation).
- Accessing corporate records and financial/director information through central registries in each country.
- Developing open source ‘leads’ using specialist open source intelligence gathering techniques.
- Engaging with larger-scale economic and market pricing databases to review company performance.
- Where appropriate and consent has been obtained, collecting and analysing potential threat information from the dark web.
Obtaining and making sense of this information, and presenting it in the form of ‘decision intelligence’, can make a huge difference and can set the conditions for success over failure. We’ve worked with some of the world’s largest brands to conduct due diligence in support of high-impact changes and decisions in their organisations, and to help them understand the context of the outside world and how this might present both threats and opportunities.