Peers and clients say:
"He has real experience and know-how in several economic fields"
Jean-Luc Guitera has been with KPMG for 34 years, and heads KPMG’s EMA region dispute advisory services. Mr Guitera has been involved in 45 international arbitrations and has given oral evidence 29 times, in French and English. He has advised parties in more than 200 transactions and has acted as an independent expert appointed by both parties in 19 M&A transactions. He also has extensive experience of fraud investigations having led more than 100 investigations in 20 countries.
As head of KPMG’s dispute advisory services for the Europe, Middle-East and Africa region, what are your goals for the team in the next five years?
I would like the breadth of KPMG’s expertise to be fully recognised by the market, as well as the fact that our experts have a “real life” experience which sets us apart from the boutiques in which the experts are solely doing expert work in front of arbitral tribunals.
What do you enjoy most about your role as an arbitration expert? Has this changed at all since you started practising?
Being creative, being able to expose a complex problem in a simple manner, and giving the tribunal an insight on how practitioners would approach a number of issues in the “real world”, so as to allow the tribunal to base its awards on reliable grounds when it comes to determining the quantum, is what I enjoy the most in my role as an arbitration expert. This was my motivation at the beginning of my career and still is the case today.
With over 34 years of experience with forensic matters, how do you stay on the cutting edge of the field?
The interesting thing about being an expert is that the more experienced one gets, the more reliable one’s expertise becomes. In my area of expertise, except in the use of some information technology tools, there have not been significant changes in the valuation techniques used by the wider market.
What is the key to successfully presenting valuations in a variety of jurisdictions and arbitral proceedings?
Clarity, independence and integrity.
In your opinion, what aspect of arbitration expert practice is evolving the quickest?
Remote hearings. They were quasi-unheard-of before covid, almost became the norm post-covid, and now are retreating again as the “physical” hearings are back with a vengeance.
If you could introduce one reform to aid expert testimony in arbitration proceedings, what would it be and why?
The possibility for the tribunal to have its own expert.
What are the greatest challenges currently faced by arbitration experts, and how can they best be overcome?
Time…there is a tendency among clients, except on the bigger cases, to appoint an expert very late in the process, and the expert ends up having no time to perform a quality job and therefore puts a number of qualifications in his report, which could have been averted had the expert been appointed sooner.
What can up-and-coming practitioners be doing to make a name for themselves in the market?
I would advise them not to be full-time experts, as they would lose contact with what happens in the business world, but instead to split their time between working on business transactions and working in an arbitration context, arbitration being no more than 40 to 50% of their workload. The risk for a practitioner working solely as an arbitration expert is that they lose credibility with experienced members of the arbitral tribunal, who will always be looking to have a computation of damages in line with what would have happened in real business life absent the damaging act.