Matt Fehon is well regarded among peers for his prolific forensic work across a range of sectors and jurisdictions.
Matt is a highly regarded corporate advisory specialist and forensic expert and specialises in financial crime, corporate corruption and regulatory investigations. A forensic accountant with more than 30 years of investigative and consulting experience, Matt has built a reputation for integrity and excellence. This is best evidenced through leading many of the largest investigations in Australia into fraud, international corruption, foreign interference and financial markets manipulation.
Describe your career to date.
I am fortunate enough to have had a diverse career, which has provided me with rare experiences and high-profile assignments. Combining law enforcement, major crime investigations, banking, derivative trading and forensic accounting has proved to be a unique and valuable skillset to assist clients.
What makes McGrathNicol stand out from its competitors in the market?
Lawyers and corporate clients enjoy having the continuity of our services as we do not encounter audit and other conflicts that other firms experience. Our firm enjoys being fiercely independent and having a market leading position in our chosen service offerings of restructuring and forensic services.
Our firm develops specialists in select fields and does not seek to expand for the sake of growth. We seek to differentiate ourselves from competitors through the recruitment of complementary specialists working in our team.
How do you effectively coordinate on cases when working alongside experts with other areas of expertise?
Collaboration is important as there are multiple stakeholders and expertise required. We combine with the client, legal advisers and other specialists to identify and obtain relevant financial records and data. This extends to working with industry experts, asset recovery agencies, financial crime teams, private investigators and forensic technology specialists.
Sources have noted an increasing number of foreign interference investigations in recent years. How are you handling the challenges that accompany this trend?
McGrathNicol has built a team that is recognised as a leader in foreign interference investigations with a specialised team that works with governments and clients across the globe. The challenge remains that there is a lack of awareness of the threats and hence the response to events is often poor.
What do you think will be the greatest challenges facing forensic accounting experts over the next five years and how will you ensure you are prepared to face them?
The breadth of corporate investigations has seen other professions expand their offerings. I see the challenge for clients being the risk they are sold consulting and legal services rather than investigation expertise. The former often take a document review approach before investigating. My experience is that this approach side-steps the opportunity of early fact finding when speaking to people.
What impact will AI and other technological innovations have on forensic practice over the next five years?
Our profession has been adapting quickly to technological advancements for the past two decades. Clients systems and open source data are large volumes of potential evidence. AI is a significant capability to complement the detailed approach of a Forensic practitioner.
What advice would you give to younger practitioners hoping to one day be in your position?
I have held the view for over a decade – the forensic accountant in the future will possess accounting, finance, investigative and data analytic skills. Working with data will be fundamental. Always seek out the best clients and the most interesting assignments. Be hungry and fearless but always maintain quality, excellence and integrity. Whilst we often work on the events that clients wish they did not have to encounter, practitioners should focus their client on the risks of not approaching an investigation or asset tracing exercise with an approach that will meet the expectations of civil and criminal proceedings.