Juan J Valderas
Alvarez & Marsal
Paseo de la Castellana 95, Torre Europa, 18th Floor
28046, Madrid, Spain
Peers and clients say:
“Juan brings reliability, resilience and technical expertise”
“He has fantastic communication skills”
"He has an incredible ability to overcome crisis situations”
Juan Valderas is the leader of A&M’s disputes and investigations practice in Spain. Trained as a lawyer, accountant, qualified auditor and a CFE, Juan brings more than 28 years of accounting experience, and more than 23 years of specialist experience in financial investigations and disputes. He serves in both advisory and expert witness-related roles before both national and international courts and international arbitration bodies in more than 200 cases, mostly across Europe and Latin America.
Describe your career to date.
I began my professional career spending five years in auditing at KPMG before joining KPMG’s London forensic department. I was then a key part of the team setting up the first forensic practice in Spain. In 2003, I joined Deloitte in Spain, where I built and led the forensic department for twelve years. During this time, I was also appointed as Deloitte’s forensic leader for Europe, the Middle East and Africa and played an active role in numerous international investigations. Between 2015 and 2018, I led FTI’s forensic practice in Spain.
My investigative experience includes fraud, corruption, accounting manipulation, money laundering and other regulatory investigations (around sanctions, competition, etc.) as well as fraud detection and prevention (compliance, ESG). I also bring extensive experience handling and reviewing large volumes of electronic data, using advanced forensic computing and data analysis techniques.
How has your degree in law and economics enhanced your practice as an expert?
My practice, in a very summarised manner, could be described as focused on analysing and producing numbers in a legal context, where the recipients and “users” of my work are mostly lawyers. My training as a lawyer has helped me to better understand and adapt my delivery to what is needed and what works in this context.
What have you learned from working with clients in a wide range of industries and jurisdictions?
Investigations across industries and countries are often similar in many ways, but also different. To be effective you always need to include local or industry-specific knowledge in the investigative team, otherwise there is a good chance of missing critical information.
What new types of fraud have you seen emerge recently? How are you ensuring that you and your clients are well-equipped to tackle the forensic challenges they pose?
Globally integrated companies, with centralised management and controls can work just fine in a normal environment, but in times of commotion or disruption (as the ones we are living in today) they often fail to detect that something may be wrong in a distant subsidiary, especially when local management is involved. In my experience, one of the most effective means to prevent this is to implement tools (such as whistle-blower channels) that enable communication from mid-level employees to the top.
How is technological innovation revolutionising the practice area at the moment and how will this impact the practice area over the next five years?
AI (or, truly, statistics “on steroids”) has been promising (and to a significant extent, failing) to deliver amazing surveillance and fraud detection capabilities for more than a decade now. Nevertheless, I think these promises may be getting much closer to reality now. Having said that, I keep believing that proper, reliable and powerfully implemented channels of communication to gather intelligence from within an organisation’s own ranks is by far the richest untapped resource, and that technology has a key role in shaping those channels in a way that gains the trust needed for them to work effectively and to produce substantial intelligence.
As leader of the Alvarez & Marsal’s disputes and investigations practice in Spain, what are your main priorities for the practice group’s development?
Our priorities in Spain include (i) continuing to expand our local forensic technology capabilities, (ii) playing a leading role in the ongoing changes among both companies and state entities associated with the implementation of the EU Directive on whistle-blower channels, and (iii) deepening our focus on construction-related expertise.
What is the best piece of advice you have received throughout your career?
First, listen carefully.