Ben Johnson receives resounding endorsements for his extensive know-how regarding fraud and financial investigations, asset tracing and litigation proceedings.
Ben Johnson is a managing director in the global investigations and strategic intelligence practice, based in London, and leads the forensic investigation team in EMEA. He is a forensic accountant with 20 years’ experience in the field, focusing on fraud, accounting malpractice, and anti-bribery and corruption issues. In the course of his career, Ben has worked on some of the largest and most complex investigations and disputes globally.
What aspects of firm management do you find most exciting?
The most rewarding aspect of firm management is staff development. It may sound trite, but in our field, staff are the most important resource and greatest asset. Working with very bright new recruits and helping them develop their careers and skillset is a great privilege of management.
As head of BRG’s EMEA forensic investigations practice, what strategies do you adopt to stand out from other competitors in the market?
The expert consulting marketplace is very competitive so it’s important to have an offering that provides real value and a point of difference to clients.
In this environment, it’s important to play to your strengths. For BRG, that is expertise. BRG was started in 2010 specifically as an expert-led firm focused on disputes. While we have broadened that offering out somewhat since then, the core of the firm is still very much focused on the application of expertise to complex matters. We have a relatively small team compared to some of the larger consulting and accounting firms but bring senior expertise to bear on every matter regardless of size.
How has the coronavirus pandemic affected networking opportunities?
The pandemic has significantly changed the way we network with clients and colleagues. The upside is that it has shown that virtual meetings can be relatively effective. However, there is no substitute for meeting face to face when establishing connections with clients and I am enjoying being able to meet with clients in person again.
How do you ensure your firm is well equipped to deal with the increasing volume of data and new technologies in dispute resolution proceedings?
We have a very strong e-discovery and data analytics team who know the market very well and keep on top of the latest technologies. The increasing volume of data in proceedings presents challenges but technology is getting better all the time and is making the review and disclosure process more efficient. The key is to make sure humans understand how to make the most of the technology available.
In what way does BRG promote a culture of independence for expert witnesses?
As BRG is an expert business, the independence of our experts is deeply ingrained. There is not much future for an expert who strays into advocacy because judges and arbitrators will be alive to it, and the result, in the long run, will be less favourable results for their clients. We provide extensive training for new experts and thoroughly review expert reports to ensure objectivity.
What challenges are you expecting the firm to encounter over the next few years, and how are you planning to adapt?
The best way to be able to adapt to a changing marketplace is to remain nimble and limit bureaucratic structures and internal silos. BRG’s founder David Teece established BRG with a model of a consulting firm built on the ethos of the entrepreneurial spirit of Silicon Valley and our management structure reflects that. This enables us to develop new opportunities and invest in growing areas, for example, artificial intelligence, as the market changes.
Summarise in a sentence what values BRG embodies under your leadership.
Enabling staff to develop and utilise their expertise on complex problems to achieve the best results for clients.