Forensic Risk Alliance
Audrey House, 16-20 Ely Place
EC1N 6SN, London, England
Peers and clients say:
"Trevor has a tremendous understanding of digital forensics"
"A top choice in the US market"
Trevor is a partner in FRA’s forensic accounting team, and also leads the data governance and forensics team. He has more than 30 years’ experience in forensic services focusing on helping clients and their legal advisors to navigate complex and multi-jurisdictional contentious matters resulting from whistle blower and/or regulator actions. Trevor has worked across a variety of industry sectors and jurisdictions. He brings a multi-disciplinary approach to complex contentious matters, to help identify crucial evidence faster and more effectively.
What motivated you to specialise in forensic services?
I started my career in audit working with large international corporates. Several of my colleagues had moved into forensic services and their experiences of investigating white-collar crime sounded exciting. So I decided to also make the move and my first assignment was investigating improper use of funds by the manager of a very well-known pop star. Our work resulted in a very favourable settlement for the pop star. That was it, I was sold. Since then, I have worked on a number of very high-profile matters, each of which presented their own challenges. Finding the facts and piecing together the truth of a matter is very satisfying. Uncovering relevant data, analysing the data and understanding how people behave are all key facets in investigations – there is never a dull moment.
How has the role of a digital forensic expert changed since you first started practising?
The role has changed significantly, particularly in the past decade. The first change is a huge increase in data volumes – we now discuss terabytes and petabytes rather than gigabytes. Scalability of data collection resources is critical in responding to these needs. This increase is also partly due to a greater diversity of data sources such as personal devices, messaging apps, voice recordings, etc. One of the unique things we do at FRA is to use cutting-edge solutions to link traditional structured data (eg, accounting, treasury) with unstructured data (eg, email, WhatsApp) to get a full picture of what happened.
Secondly, the introduction of ever more stringent data protection legislation such as GDPR and country blocking statutes makes it imperative to have expert technical advice. Missteps around this can have significant implications.
The latest change is the increased variety of forensic tools available, including machine learning and AI to help find the most relevant evidence quickly. Though all these changes can be challenging, it means that you’re constantly learning. Coming up with pragmatic and creative solutions for our clients is incredibly satisfying and can make all the difference in an investigation or project.
What impact are you seeing from technological innovation?
As mentioned, AI can drive efficiency and effectiveness in investigations by quickly identifying the critical focus areas or smoking guns in a massive corpus of information, saving time and money and producing better results. However, we place equal emphasis on having the best technologies and having the best people with the expertise to tailor those tools to the client’s goals. When responding to data challenges in contentious situations – be they government, internal investigations or disputes – clients need the support of experts who can make their case as well as wield the technology. The use of AI technology in the investigations space will continue to improve as regulators begin to encourage or expect the use of it in multi-jurisdictional investigations. This means having the right team of technology experts and innovative tools to support all our clients’ challenges.
What makes Forensic Risk Alliance stand out from its competitors in the market?
Unlike larger network accounting firms, we operate purely in the forensic space and generally have few conflicts. Independence is increasingly critical to boards, audit committees and regulators. Our one firm approach is also truly unique in our market. We pull the best experts for the client from our global pool of digital forensics, data analytics and forensic accounting specialists to work seamlessly as one combined team. There are no internal silos and this combination of deep expertise and collaboration means that we have provided digital forensic services in some of the largest corporate investigations. This experience is invaluable.
Finally, at FRA we understand that clients dealing with complex matters need technical expertise delivered in an understandable and actionable way. We have built lasting relationships with our clients on this basis.
What advice would you give to younger practitioners hoping to one day be in your position?
Learn from those around you who have more or different experiences and look to develop the consultant mindset. Curiosity is a strength and the opportunities to grow from clients and colleagues can truly help you understand and develop what it is you bring to the table. Learning also helps you to actively listen, which is a key facet in providing effective advice to help clients with their challenges.