Forensic Risk Alliance lands multi-million funding for growth

23 March 2020 4 min. read
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Audit and advisory firm Forensic Risk Alliance has attracted a £100 million refinancing package in order to support its growth ambitions. The deal, supported by financial services firm Barings, is Forensic Risk Alliance’s second refinancing in 12 months, as it looks to support its continued growth and global expansion. 

Founded by former bankers Frances McLeod and Toby Duthie and technology specialist Greg Mason in 1999, Forensic Risk Alliance (FRA) is an international forensic accounting and data governance consultancy which advises on high-profile corruption and fraud matters, financial crime, complex cross-border disputes, audit defence, environmental regulation, compliance and investigations. The firm is rapidly expanding, with a client-base that includes some of the world’s largest companies including Rolls-Royce and Telia, as well as several leading international law firms.

Most recently, FRA led a global forensic investigation supporting Airbus’ €3.6 billion anti-corruption settlement, the largest such settlement in Europe’s history. During the case, FRA provided forensic accounting, data governance technology solutions and compliance support to Airbus in an extremely complex multinational investigation that covered more than a dozen jurisdictions.

Forensic Risk Alliance lands multi-million funding for growth

Amid this successful business period, the firm has had to turn to private equity, in order to support its global growth ambitions. In March 2017, FRA was backed by UK private equity house Dunedin, achieving strong growth as a result. Revenues have increased threefold between 2016 and 2019 to £88 million, which FRA’s Partner team has expanded from six to 20 since Dunedin’s investment.

Mark Ligertwood, Partner of Dunedin who sits on the Board of FRA, commented, “FRA is performing exceptionally well and has worked on some of the most high-profile global anti-corruption cases in the last year, including the Airbus settlement and Swedbank’s anti-money laundering investigation… FRA forecasts continued strong growth given its reputation for excellence against a backdrop of increasing regulatory scrutiny. We expect the business to continue to build on its reputation as a global leader in complex cross-border regulatory investigations.”

Following this success, FRA has sought further investment, landing a new multi-million financing deal with financial services group Barings. The new debt facilities from Barings give FRA additional flexibility to pursue opportunities in existing and new markets and strengthen its operations, while the refinancing structure is designed to continue to attract and retain senior talent internationally, as FRA deepens its capabilities and broadens its service offering in a dynamic regulatory and market environment.

Toby Duthie, co-founder of FRA, remarked, “Over the last three years, with Dunedin’s support, we have built a truly remarkable offering for our clients and have attracted some of the best global talent. From establishing our roots during the holocaust settlements over 20 years’ ago to the recent landmark Airbus settlement, it’s been an incredible journey. The refinancing with Barings enables us to look to the next phase of growth and invest further in our services, people and global footprint, helping to reinforce our position as a market leader.”

Recent expansions of FRA’s reach include office openings in the Nordics – following high-profile work on a Swedbank anti-money laundering investigation – as well as US office openings in New York, Dallas and Philadelphia. On top of this, FRA hired 79 new staff last year and over the last two years has more than doubled its headcount to 283 in December 2019.

Matt Carty, Director for Barings Global Private Finance stated, “FRA has built an excellent reputation over a number of years while delivering strong growth, having worked on a number of the world’s most high-profile regulatory investigations. We are delighted to support the Partners and Dunedin with this refinance and look forward to working with them as they cement FRA’s position as a leader in complex, multi-jurisdictional fraud, bribery and corruption cases globally.”