Fiona Hotston Moore
FRP Advisory Trading Limited
110 Cannon Street
EC4N 6EU, London, England
Fiona Hotston Moore "gets straight to the key points and is superb at explaining complex matters clearly and simply".
Fiona Hotston Moore is a partner in FRP Advisory’s forensic services national team based in Cambridge/Norwich and working for instructing lawyers across the UK and occasionally internationally.
Fiona specialises in commercial disputes, business valuations, criminal matters, fraud investigations, tax disputes and professional negligence matters including giving evidence in the High Court, Arbitration, Tax Tribunal and Family Court. She has been instructed as an Expert in approximately 350 cases in her career to date. She has been cross examined on a number of occasions including High Court, International Arbitration, Family Court, Tax Tribunal and Employment Tribunal. Fiona qualified as a chartered accountant with big four firm, KPMG in 1990. Since qualifying she has been a senior partner in international and large national firms in London and over the last ten years has specialised in forensic accounting. She is also a chartered tax adviser as well as an accredited expert witness and accredited counter fraud specialist. Fiona has over 30 years experience in financial reporting, auditing, tax and corporate advisory and corporate governance
Fiona’s assignments and experience covers a variety of industries including financial services, manufacturing, construction, technology, retail, property, media and professional services. Fiona brings a unique depth and breadth of commercial experience from her 30 year career in practice as well as her various roles as non executive director.
Fiona has presented both nationally and internationally at conferences for professional training companies, Resolution, the Law Society and law firms on matters ranging from share valuation, professional negligence, financial reporting and taxation and was a contributor to the Kogan Page textbook “Forensic Accounting & Finance”.
Looking back over your career, what is the most memorable case you have been a part of?
I am fortunate that my forensic and expert witness work is challenging and interesting and offers the opportunity to work with a talented team and with fellow professionals in law firms and legal counsel.
I enjoy the challenge of trying to look at problems from a number of angles and presenting alternative arguments.
I also hope that I am able to give clients the confidence that an independent expert has considered the dispute and that even though they might not ultimately receive as much as they hoped, they have the reassurance that the expert has done a thorough analysis and given a balanced view.
One case that stands out in terms of the human element was a matter where a head teacher had been fired following allegations of fraud. I was able to show that the allegations were unfounded and proper process had not been followed in the investigation. As a result, the individual received a substantial settlement.
What are the key skills practitioners should develop if they wish to be counter fraud specialists like yourself?
Key skills are the ability to stay objective and consider the evidence without bringing to bear any bias. A methodical approach is key but the investigator needs to be able to think on their feet and to change tack if the interview or evidence suggests the circumstances are not as originally presented. It is also necessary to show empathy and consideration towards individuals who may be in a very stressful situation.
What is the greatest challenge facing forensic accountants in share and valuation cases at the moment?
The challenge over the last three years has been the volatility of the economy due to the pandemic, Brexit and now inflation and interest rate increases. The valuer needs to put more emphasis on the current information and projections and cannot place as much reliance on historic information.
How do you think continued economic downturn could impact the commercial litigation space?
I expect to see a continued spike in post-acquisition disputes and warranty claims as buyers feel they overpaid for a business that may now not be performing as it did pre-sale.
How do you see your practice developing over the next five years?
I anticipate I will be receiving increasing numbers of instructions on professional negligence claims against auditors and tax advisers. Clients are more willing to pursue claims and I am well placed with my 25 years’ experience advising clients in practice to handle these matters and to give an opinion on the appropriate standard of a reasonably competent professional.
If you could introduce one reform to expert testimony in litigation proceedings, what would it be and why?
In my opinion the legal process is rigorous. The one issue I have come across relates to an expert who acted outside his expertise, and this was not identified by the instructing solicitors and a decision was given based on what in my view was a fundamentally flawed report.
What advice would you give to younger practitioners hoping to one day be in your position?
Ensure that you do every piece of work to a high standard and that you obtain a second opinion on contentious areas. This will ensure that you will receive repeat referrals. Also ensure that you invest time daily to build your network of referrers.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Tackle every expert report on the assumption that you may end up in court being cross examined on the report.