Frank Erkens

Holland Integrity Group

Teleport Towers, Kingsfordweg 151 1043 GR
Amsterdam, Netherlands

Peers and clients say:

"Frank always thinks outside the box and strategises on a macro rather than micro basis"
"He understand the pros and cons of many legal systems, which is a massive advantage to any client"
"Frank has a vast international network"


Frank Erkens is the managing partner of Holland Integrity Group, which he founded in 2004. Prior to that he worked at Dutch governmental agencies (Tax Administration and Police) for 16 years and international audit firms for five years. He has (post)master degrees in auditing and commercial law, and is now reading for a PhD in the field of forensic investigations. He is registered as an expert witness in the Netherlands and England.

Why do you think asset recovery is important?

Every year it is observed that the size of financial crime is increasing and becoming more damaging to businesses. Furthermore, the legislation is becoming more demanding and making it more difficult for corporates. The new offence of failure to prevent is the next step in an ongoing process of new developments in the crime landscape and countermeasures. We also notice that financial crime can have a huge impact on clients and their businesses. Think of falling stock prices, bankruptcies, nationalisations, reorganisations and the departure of customers and shareholders. In large, complex cases, asset recovery determines whether a long and difficult process can be brought to a successful conclusion. With successful asset recovery, corporates show that they do not accept financial crime from employees, directors or externals and do not want to be accused of having failed to prevent financial crime.

How would you describe Holland Integrity Group's approach to asset recovery work, and how does this differ from other firms in the market?

Holland Integrity Group distinguishes itself from others by its holistic, interdisciplinary approach to the entire investigation, of which asset recovery is an integral part. We utilise all the necessary disciplines and means to gather the necessary information. Through our background with law enforcement and intelligence agencies, international audit firms, banks and other parties, we have acquired broad knowledge and experience in all forms of operational, technical and financial investigations and legal proceedings in civil and common law jurisdictions. We learned that every limitation in investigation and litigation can have a serious impact on the final result. On the other hand, we also recognise that in-depth knowledge and creativity are important qualities to overcome obstacles. In our corporate dictionary, the word “impossible” does not exist.

What are the benefits of adopting an interdisciplinary approach to asset recovery work, and how do you ensure various specialists are able to work together successfully?

Over the years, we have learned that information asymmetry makes it necessary to combine different skillsets to overcome the information backlog. By using different specialists, we are better equipped to understand all relevant aspects of the case. It is in the interest of the client that we really push ourselves to understand all elements of the case and are able to gather the missing pieces of the puzzle. Due to our long track record of cases in a variety of business sectors and countries, we have learned to insert the most effective and efficient tools. On the other hand, we have also learned the hard way that some tools won't work in certain circumstances.

The biggest pitfall of any individual specialist is not being aware of the limitations of his own knowledge and experience. To ensure that specialists can work together successfully, it is important that specialists are open minded, get out of their comfort zone and learn to look beyond the borders of their own field of expertise, otherwise it is difficult to make the necessary connections. They must learn to speak each other's language.

In what ways do you expect technology to impact asset recovery work in the near future?

The future impact of technology for asset recovery will be determined by our own ability to deploy it at the right place and in the right way. I strongly believe that only technology developed by tech companies with the requisite knowledge of financial crime and forensics will survive.

Through our work as forensic investigators, asset tracers and court experts, we have learned by making mistakes, listening and working on multiple cases that before we can deploy technology we first must understand the problems we encounter.