Entering 2022, reflection on the plethora of challenges confronting the global economy over the past two years, particularly during the spring of 2020, illuminates one bright spot—the rapid ability of certain industries to pivot and remain operational. Especially memorable was the transition of restaurants, within several weeks, to selling groceries and meal kits. In the short term, this flexibility served as a lifeline, allowing some businesses to remain operational, retain employees, and maintain relationships with their customers. Such quick and innovative thinking is vital for long-term success across disparate industries, including investigative due diligence. By embracing change and prioritizing client concerns, due diligence providers are able to thrive while bolstering their customers with the actionable intelligence necessary to flourish in their respective industries.
“Think twice before you tweet.”
This is the latest C-Suite mantra. Consider the case of Just Eat Takeaway CEO Jitse Groen whose tweets in 2021 were deemed by activist investors (including Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi) as having caused the company to be “deeply undervalued and vulnerable to take-over bids well below its intrinsic value.” The ability of executives to suddenly implode their companies with an ill-considered social media post makes social media screening a critical component of an investigative due diligence report. While analysts were formerly able to manually review social media content, the sheer volume of posts created by individuals today requires a technological approach to mitigate a technological problem. This is where AI social media screening shines since it can condense a typical individual’s expansive online footprint into a highly focused report for a trained investigator to analyze for reputational risk issues.
“I feel the need, the need for speed.”
First said by Tom Cruise’s character Maverick in Top Gun, this sentiment is echoed by decision makers in industries ranging from private equity to commercial real estate. A traditional challenge for due diligence providers has been balancing the time commitment necessary to complete an impactful investigation with the ever increasing speed of business. Meeting this challenge is where investigative specific screening solutions such as Vcheck RED excel. In addition to providing instant due diligence to meet immediate client needs, Vcheck Red’s client focused features include ongoing monitoring and the ability to instantly escalate automated results to a deep-dive analyst driven investigation. In business environments where time is money, ongoing automated monitoring protects profits by raising real time alerts tailored to a client’s specific intelligence needs.
“An ESG Reckoning Is Coming.”
This was proclaimed by the Harvard Business Review in March. To best serve rapidly evolving client priorities including ESG (Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance), diligence providers must be willing to dedicate the time and resources to spot and evaluate market issues. This investigative mindset goes hand-in-hand with possessing the flexibility to adapt existing techniques to contemporary concerns and while encouraging continuous employee innovation. Vcheck has a demonstrated track record of utilizing innovative technology attuned to client needs while strategically infusing analyst driven investigative techniques including expertly conducted human source inquiries with contemporary industry insights. Our analysts are cognizant of ESG issues ranging from erosion concerns in the Sahara to anticipated changes to the UK’s privacy laws in the wake of Brexit.
“Investors want to better understand one of the most critical assets of a company: its people” SEC Chair Gary Gensler tweeted this in August. DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) has quickly become a priority for both providers and consumers of investigative due diligence. To this end, due diligence investigators must be attuned to spotting both existing DEI issues as well as identifying future matters of client concern. This entails investigative fingers on both media and regulatory pulses while possessing a sound understanding of a subject’s industry, local laws, and social climate as well as client business objectives. On the provider side, investing in exceptional analysts is essential for obtaining an industry edge. Analysts proficient in a variety of languages, trained in regional studies, and benefiting from overseas experience, such as Vcheck Global’s Investigative Team, provide clients with impactful insights tying together diverse and seemingly disparate findings including corporate registrations, legal records, and media mentions. Consider that while a subject located abroad may not be running afoul of local laws, regulations, or social contracts, their actions may raise significant concerns by investors, business partners, and the general public in other countries.
In the same spirit as the restaurant industry’s innovation in spring 2020, the fluid nature of global regulatory and social environments necessitates timely and strategic adaptations by providers of investigative due diligence. By closely monitoring various industries and countries while prioritizing human talent supported by innovative technology, Vcheck Global provides its clients with impactful information reflecting today’s realities with an eye toward tomorrow. Reach out to Vcheck Global to learn how our actionable intelligence can enhance your decision making.
Seth Harlan is Senior Associate, Market & Regulatory Affairs at Vcheck Intelligence.