Considerations when choosing a Reputational Due Diligence services provider
What is meant by Reputational Due Diligence (RDD)?
Due diligence (DD) is a term widely used in business circles generally referring to a means of information collection with which to inform a decision-making process. For example, if you are about to enter into a deal with an unknown company or individual, it would make sense therefore to do your due diligence and ensure you have all the information available to you. From there you can analyse and assess risk relating to you, your company, and its stakeholders.
A professional due diligence company may offer numerous services. Some may look at specific areas such as finance and some legal, but all are elements that inform the full DD package. We at Millbank Solutions, however, deal with background and reputational risk matters surrounding third party entities, where adverse publicity could cause significant loss (both financially and reputationally) and damage to a brand.
Can you afford not to engage an RDD provider?
There are obvious financial costs to engaging a reputable provider of due diligence services, and care should be taken to ensure that those costs are proportionate to the work required. However, not spending what could be a relatively small amount and gaining the information you need to make those informed decisions, could prove costly further into the business relationship with the third party, whether they are a customer or commercial enterprise.
The recent disclosure of the Pandora Papers ensured that some dealings involving high-profile businesspeople, politicians and organisations were aired for all to see. Perhaps those involved may have thought that the processes behind their dealings were untraceable and watertight in terms of information leakage. Any companies in the chain who may be innocently involved in the dealings could still get an unwanted mention. A credible RDD process may have highlighted the risks and provided the information they required to make alternative arrangements or decisions.
Choose your provider wisely
There are some basic questions you should ask yourself before choosing your RDD provider.
- Has the provider formed an initial understanding of the risk and requirements?
- Have they indicated that these risks would be explored as part of the due diligence process?
- Do they have other skills and resources to be able to inform reporting where approved?
- Can they evidence experience?
- Have they indicated they will always operate lawfully regardless of where they may be required to operate?
- Are the proposed services and costs proportionate to the risk?
- Are their levels of communication effective?
- Have they provided options or alternatives which could be as effective and may reduce costs?
This list is not an exhaustive list of questions, and you should certainly expect positive answers from them before issuing instructions.
It has never been more essential to carry out due diligence commensurate with both the requirement and your organisation’s appetite for risk. Given current supply-chain issues, the global financial climate, and the necessity to demonstrate resilience to stakeholders, there is an almost palatable clamour to rush to what seems to be an easy resolution to problems with little regard to the potential risks. Choose your provider with care and ensure they also do not become a threat to your operations. Choose well, and they will help you identify opportunities and avoid costly errors.
At Millbank Solutions, our specialist team take the time to understand the requirements of our clients and in consultation with them, formulate a plan of action that will result in them having all the information required to make the right decisions.