"Due diligence" is a term used for a number of concepts, involving either an investigation of a business or person prior to signing a contract, or an act with a certain standard of care.

It can be a legal obligation, but the term will more commonly apply to voluntary investigations. A common example of due diligence in various industries is the process through which a potential acquirer evaluates a target company or its assets for an acquisition. The theory behind due diligence holds that performing this type of investigation contributes significantly to informed decision making by enhancing the amount and quality of information available to decision makers and by ensuring that this information is systematically used to deliberate in a reflexive manner on the decision at hand and all its costs, benefits, and risks.

We have conducted Due Diligence for:

  • International law firms
  • Business transactions and corporate finance
  • Foreign Corrupt Practices
  • Human rights
  • Philanthropy
  • HR departments
  • Hedge funds and foreign exchange
  • Civil litigation
  • Supplier quality engineering
  • Criminal law
  • Commercial property
  • Information security

Due Diligence also looks at Security Risk, Financial Risk, Political Risk, Operational Risk, Legal Risk, Reputational Risk and Brand protection.

Enhanced Due Diligence can also include investigation of offshore accounts and ‘red flagging’.

Anti-bribery Due Diligence

Anti-bribery due diligence in merger and acquisition transactions has been relatively commonplace in transactions involving buyers subject to the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act 1977 for some time. With the UK's new Bribery Act 2010 now in force, and with the intensified focus on corruption by authorities across the globe, the demand for anti-bribery preventative measures has become much broader. Buyers (and underwriters), even those not within US jurisdiction, are increasingly concerned about target companies' historic compliance breaches and the measures and controls in place to prevent such breaches prior to acquisition. As enforcement spreads, the business community has recognised that the lack of a robust anti-bribery compliance programme will affect their bottom line directly, including the value realised from corporate acquisitions and disposals.

Placing HR at the Heart of Risk Management

Risk management is an essential part of the strategy of any successful business. If companies such as Heathmount are to provide the most effective, secure and confidential service to their clients, a risk management strategy should be a top priority for the directors and partners who are advised in this area. It should be fully integrated across the whole business, and be regarded as a crucial tool in meeting the firm’s top strategic objectives.

But what of the role of HR in risk management? And what emphasis should firms place on HR matters when drawing up their risk management strategies?

What is risk management?

Effective risk management involves identifying, assessing and prioritising potential risks to the business. The key risk for any business will be financial loss – but other risks include damage to reputation or loss of clients.

A companies risk management should be fully embedded into the firm’s daily business involving everyone within the firm – from the top down.

A competent risk review will look at all the firm’s responsibilities to both their staff and clients, including:

  • Health and safety issues
  • Data security and client confidentiality
  • Reliable, responsible marketing and PR
  • Regulatory and legislative compliance
  • Reputation management
  • HR policies


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