Expanding your business abroad is one of the most challenging tasks faced by entrepreneurs and managers. At home, it’s easy for skilled businessmen and women to decide whether to trust a local partner based on a gut feeling. You can visit your prospective partners in person and visit their office to determine whether they are trustworthy. When conducting business abroad, or with foreign partners, this decision is usually more difficult to make.
There can be moments where you have to make important decisions based on a website and a person you have only met virtually. This is not a sound strategy. This certainly applies in a world dominated by COVID-19, where traveling abroad is heavily restricted.
Fraudsters have made a sport of presenting themselves as professional businessmen and women. They make sure that their website looks clean and sophisticated, while at the same time presenting themselves as professional and determined. Appearances can, as they say, be very deceiving. There are numerous examples of successful companies losing millions of dollars after being scammed by partners abroad. Besides the financial damage, being associated with dubious companies and individuals can inflict great damage to your reputation.
In short, companies with global aspirations will always have to consider the local situation. Is the company in question safe to do business with? Are your potential business partners trustworthy? These questions can raise concerns, as they should, among you and your colleagues. With our Integrity Due Diligence, we examine the backgrounds and integrity of your business partners.
Our due diligence is a layered process in which we compose a broad picture of your prospective partners. The first layer is the entity itself. To achieve this, we consider all company data and history, focused on ownership, court cases, sanctions, reputation and experience within the relevant industry.
The second layer focuses on the people involved in the entity. To this end, an investigation is conducted into all current and former directors. We examine their personal information and professional background as well as other relevant board positions they might have and companies they might own. The last step in the second layer is screening their local and international media exposure. Investigative journalists usually report on dubious actors before they have been sentenced and can therefore be traced.
Most agencies offering due diligence services stop after examining the first two layers. If the second layer is even considered, that is. The problem with this approach is that even petty criminals make sure that this information looks professional and is not associated with possible integrity risks. They will establish a brand new and ‘clean’ entity with a modern website and enlist board-members without reputational damage. As a result, only looking at the first two layers is simply not sufficient.
That is why our due diligence consists of a third layer. This layer focuses on the network of the companies and individuals associated with the screened entity. It often happens that fraudsters who have already been convicted themselves partner up with individuals without a criminal record. Frequently, these partners are individuals they trust from within their personal network. As such, the connections are traceable by conducting thorough investigations.
Based on the information derived during our due diligence, we assess which integrity risks the screened entity poses to our clients and which actions are necessary to properly protect themselves from fraudulent activity. If necessary, we are able to provide litigation support to ensure that no harm can be done to our valued clients.
Are you worried about the risks associated with expanding abroad or doing business with foreign partners? Reach out to us by leaving your contact details in the form below.
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