Corporate Investigation Services

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What are they and when might you need them?

Corporate investigation services could be something you may not even have known to exist, let alone having a requirement to utilise them for your company. But if you suspect or know that something within your organisation has gone wrong, then it can be reassuring to have a firm of credible independent professionals to call on. So what is a corporate investigation, when might you need one and how will it be carried out? Moreover, what services should you expect from any company you might hire and how do you ensure you’re choosing the best one for your requirements?

One of the main responsibilities of the directors of a company is acting prudently to protect that company’s assets, for the benefit of its members as a whole. Directors must act in the best interests of its shareholders and protect their employees. They must also foster the company’s reputation for having high standards when it comes to business conduct. So as a director, if you suspect that there has been wrongdoing somewhere within your company, or there’s a threat from an internal or external source, then it’s your duty to investigate and reduce the risk to all interested parties. Perhaps you’ve seen evidence of theft on the premises, whether that’s financial, physical or of intellectual property. Maybe you are being sued by a former employee or a supplier. You could find that your computer systems have been hacked and the integrity of the data you store has been compromised. You need to get to the bottom of the problem and fast before things get out of hand. For that, you need corporate investigation services. But surely it’s better to keep it all in-house, rather than employ one of the corporate investigation companies on the market? Not necessarily. There are advantages to using independent corporate investigations firms to run the enquiry. Firstly, it prevents later accusations of conflicts of interest. Secondly, it shows that the matter is being taken seriously; this is reassuring to stakeholders who have an interest in the success of the company, and it’s a deterrent to anyone considering malfeasance in the future. Thirdly, professional corporate investigation specialists already have the skills and experience necessary to carry out such enquiries in a fast and efficient manner. After all, it’s in everyone’s interests to have the matter resolved as quickly as possible before the situation worsens and the company’s reputation is damaged beyond repair.

Why else should insider threat management be handled by the experts and how do they do it?

Companies with expertise in dealing with external risks or insider threat management have access to fully trained, experienced investigators. These individuals are proficient at examining corporate records and data to uncover discrepancies and they have the skills required to conduct interviews with staff members. They can closely analyse internal and external communications, whether on paper or a computer network and as new faces to the company they’re hired by, they can even carry out discreet enquiries to source information on a potential or actual threat to the business’ well-being. So what will the investigators be looking for when you hire them to assist your company? Essentially, four main areas need addressing. Firstly, analysing the nature of the threat: what has happened here? Secondly, they will look for who was responsible. Thirdly, they will uncover why the issue was allowed to happen and how it could have been prevented. And fourthly, they will determine the extent to which the incident has put the company at risk. A good corporate investigations service will also produce a report that offers a risk assessment detailing any other areas of vulnerability their operators have identified during their enquiries.

Whether you require a legal, a libel or a cyber investigation, look for expertise

The trick to dealing with a problem is to nip it in the bud as early as possible. Ironically, you will need to make a decision on which investigations firm to use at what is already a difficult and stressful time for your company. It’s easy to just pick the first name off the Internet to get the matter resolved as soon as you can. But like any important decision within your business, you should do as much research and due diligence as you can into the firm you’re thinking of hiring before you part with any money. So what should you look for? The first factor is obviously experience. You want the individuals you are trusting your firm’s reputation with to have the necessary background and skills. The best investigators have a police or intelligence services background. They’ll have a firm grasp of proper investigative techniques and rules like evidence gathering, and this will prove essential if the case ever has to go to court. Next, ensure the company has the right resources. A firm with plenty of background researchers, state-of-the-art analytical technology and up-to-date equipment, for instance, will be able to resolve your problem faster and with better information than a one-man-band. And finally, ask for relevant experience. If you need a cyber investigation into suspected embezzlement or a case of hacking or internet fraud for example, then you require a cyber investigation company or one that includes that speciality in its menu of services; we are one such company.

Corporate investigation services with expertise and discretion from Millbank Solutions

In this article, we’ve only touched on the basics of what corporate investigation services can provide. But if you think you need help with wrongdoing within your company or a threat from an external source, Millbank Solutions can offer discreet, expert and professional help. Take a look at the range of services we provide on our website at, and if you’re ready to speak to us, you can call us on +44 (0) 191 909 7007. Remember, the faster you act to resolve the problem, the better it will be for your organisation as a whole. Get in touch today.

Private Investigation Management

MD of Millbank Solutions, Mike George, explains why managing client’s expectations is important for credible independent private and corporate investigators.

Several private investigation cases are being highlighted in the press and on social media at the moment, which seems to indicate that breaches of privacy and data protection regulations have taken place across Europe. I have been following with great interest, in particular, the ‘spying scandal’ and the ongoing legal case surrounding the investigation and surveillance of a top executive at Credit Suisse. I won’t comment on the tactics employed in this case due to the ongoing investigation, however, I think it is perhaps timely to give an opinion on how client’s expectations should be managed in what is a generally unregulated industry.

At Millbank Solutions all of our investigators and surveillance operatives are former police detectives or intelligence officers with a sound knowledge of how the various laws which affect privacy and human rights, can also affect the meeting of a client’s expectations and the outcome of a case. They have undergone extensive training over many years and carry their knowledge into the corporate world. However, there are investigators out there with little to no experience in an operational environment and they are allowed to operate without legal guidance or any form of mentoring. This will eventually cause issues not only for themselves and their company but for their client, as it means there is massive potential for reputational damage. Due to lack of experience, many will happily accept a client’s unrealistic demands without thought of how they will be met, perhaps due to the prospect of being able to issue that longed for high-value invoice. Now is the time for the reputable investigator to be strong, as it is now that the problems will begin!

Any good investigator knows their strengths and where their limitations lay. For example, I have known people who excel at interviewing, but by their admission, act like Inspector Clouseau when asked to carry out tradecraft. So, those without any credible surveillance training for example really should refrain from telling their client they can meet their expectations around the following of an individual unless, of course, they intend to hire a reputable team (This would be a good time to mention to anyone thinking of hiring someone to do surveillance, that it can’t be done effectively with one person and they are highly likely to be compromised. Check first; you get what you pay for).

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From the outset, the meeting of only realistic, necessary and proportionate objectives should be embarked upon by the investigation team with rationale recorded at both ends. For example, does the following of an individual to a supermarket really take you any further in terms of meeting objectives in an online fraud enquiry? Does the activity of the subject at home on an evening keep you within the scope of the investigation or is it irrelevant? Online investigation still catches out many investigators, falling foul of the fact that privacy laws and data regulation apply there too. Any investigation must be planned with due consideration to the laws of the land in which it will take place.

I mentioned these basic points as someone who would like to see regulation of private investigation and surveillance in the UK. It will no doubt be overly bureaucratic initially if invoked, but it will protect all parties where they now work unguarded. In my opinion, being a member of an investigators network doesn’t go far enough in terms of being an acceptable credential for credible investigators. A method of mentoring and continuous assessment is required operationally, however, the governance and oversight is a far bigger and much more costly issue. Current licensing arrangements are not fit for purpose in the case of investigators and we must work to find a resolution at the earliest opportunity.

Until then at Millbank Solutions, we will continue to work with integrity and in the principles of current investigatory powers legislation regardless of the client (although we are not obliged to do so unless for a public body). We follow updates regarding relevant cases at court and ensure we hire only the best people for the job; square pegs in square holes. We will say ‘no’ to clients and have done recently, explaining that what is often witnessed on a TV drama, cannot be legally replicated in the real world.

Mike George

MD Millbank Solutions

Millbank Solutions is a security risk management, corporate intelligence and investigations company based in the UK.

Dan the solution as specialist security company looks to grow

A specialist security and risk management company has announced a key appointment as it continues to grow.

Millbank Solutions, which was launched by Michael George two years ago, has confirmed Dan Bettison has joined the company as Director of Operations.

Dan brings a wealth of experience to the role, following a 22-year career in the police force and Michael believes it will enhance the quality of service offered to clients.

Michael said: “I am absolutely delighted we have been able to secure Dan as our new Director of Operations.

“He comes to us with a wealth of experience following a hugely successful police career. Dan will not only have a strategic role in the development of Millbank Solutions, but he will also manage ongoing and forthcoming contracts, ensuring we continue to deliver the highest level of service to our clients. I wish him every success in the role.”

Millbank Solutions, which is based in County Durham, provides risk management, security, investigative and intelligence services across numerous industries including engineering and manufacturing, legal, maritime, oil and gas, banking and education.

Dan said: “I am very much looking forward to bringing my expertise and experience to Millbank Solutions and working with Mike to help the company tap into new markets and broaden the spectrum of services we are able to offer our clients.”

The Insider Threat

I wonder if you have heard of this phrase, but when you conjure up an image of an insider threat, you picture a ‘spy’ of some description covertly downloading information from the servers and passing the information on to competitors, in order to steal business or ruin yours? Well, you may not be far wrong. Or at least, that may be one description. In fact, the insider threat can come in many forms, but they usually fall into two categories; intentional and unintentional (lest we go into legal arguments).

Let’s deal with the former first. With the rapid increase in sophisticated hacking technology comes also an increase in technical and IT countermeasures; some successful, some not. There is a risk and time element to competitors or sponsors of hackers when using what we would recognise as conventional hacking methods using IT. Therefore, what better way to gain access to the required data or materials than to place someone within the business ‘legitimately’? Easy to do if there is an ongoing recruitment process, but maybe a little harder if there isn’t. In this case, recruitment from staff already in place would mean that there would be a wealth of information, materials and intelligence to be gained from systems without leaving a trail back to a computer, wherever it may be. Or, how about using a contractor or someone in the supply chain to access the property which is not on a computer? Maybe even a disgruntled former employee? There are many candidates.

The latter is more avoidable, but relies on the company creating the correct policies, ensuring that they are understood and practised by all, monitored and reviewed regularly. In other words, breeding a security culture, where everyone is empowered and all are aware of the significance and the consequences of a breach, whether that is of the physical or cybersecurity. There are numerous examples of individuals unwittingly being ‘tailgated’ into buildings without having first been checked, or plugging in mobile devices without authorisation, or even opening emails or websites thinking they would ‘only be a minute’ checking their latest mail order. After all, what harm could it really do?

In its simplest form, espionage has long since been an effective means of getting ahead of the competition or dispatching them quickly without them knowing where the threat came from in the first place. It has gone on for centuries and still goes on to this day. It is not a thing of fiction and only played out in movies, but it is a multi-billion dollar industry. The same individuals or groups (state-sponsored or operating from a back bedroom) will prey on weaknesses in any security posture and without prejudice.

All companies, regardless of their business, are vulnerable to attack or breach. Many of these weaknesses and risks can be mitigated with relevant expert services such as corporate investigation, good training and strong leadership, but they won’t go away just because an organisation hasn’t yet been exposed to threat or risk.

If you would like to contact us in complete confidence and discuss your circumstances, we would be delighted to hear from you, regardless of location, sector or organisational objective.

Millbank Solutions