Interpath data and technology wing celebrates first-year growth

28 March 2023 6 min. read
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Interpath Advisory is celebrating the first year in business of its data and technology practice. According to Alex Dunstan-Lee, the department’s leader, the team will prove a vital component of Interpath’s global expansion plans in the years ahead.

Initially formed via a £400 million carve-out of KPMG’s restructuring wing, Interpath Advisory is the largest independent corporate turnaround firm in Britain. In 2022, as the company continued to evolve its offering to reach new clients, Interpath launched a new data and technology capability.

Closely aligned to Interpath’s wider capabilities across the restructuring, deals and advisory spectrum, the practice leverages technology to help clients get more from their data, across a wide range of critical business situations. Explaining how the firm’s data and technology specialists both enhance other services lines across the business, and provide specific market-facing capabilities, practice leader Alex Dunstan-Lee, noted three particular areas of strength at its “early stage of evolution”.

Alex Dunstan-Lee, Data & Technology Lead, Interpath Advisory

“First, we have a market leading capability around extracting, analysing and visualising data from large ERP systems,” Dunstan-Lee noted. “Our people are skilled in analytics, IT, audit, business and financial processes, and in large ERP environments. We support our clients with the identification of risks and irregularities. We work alongside our clients to identify opportunities for improving efficiency and effectiveness.”

Beside advanced analytics, the team can also develop financial models, which clients can use to support important key business decisions, “helping them model future financial outcomes based on different assumptions”. According to Dunstan-Lee, these modelling projects have already supported clients in tackling a range of corporate events, from capital raises and corporate acquisitions, through to refinancing, restructuring and disposals – across a broad range of sectors.

Finally, he added, “We can support eDiscovery projects – where clients, their lawyers, investigators and insolvency professionals need to identify, collect and review large sets of data in their disputes and investigations. We will arm our clients with cutting-edge technology (including machine learning capabilities) and provide the experience to help them manage risk and gain insight.”

Interpath has invested in a suite of technology which, combined with its staff, Dunstan-Lee said comprised “market-leading support” in these areas. In the last 18 months, the practice has grown from zero to 14 people, based across five of offices – in London, Dublin, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. Interpath is not slowing down now, either, with Dunstan-Lee noting that the team will continue to grow over the coming year, expecting to have “more than 20 people in the team” by its end.

The team is also making international progress. Dunstan-Lee said he was particularly proud to hit a significant milestone “very early” in the team’s journey, when it started working on large projects emanating from the British Virgin Islands and Cayman Islands – where Interpath also has offices. Meanwhile a data and technology capability has also launched in Ireland, led by managing director Paul Hough – helping to win work where a multi-country team is needed.

Speaking on areas of momentum the team can build upon, he continued, “As Interpath continues to expand globally, the data and technology team will be a key component of that growth… We work with a wide range of Interpath clients across multiple sectors, including providing data support services on significant restructuring and insolvency engagements such as Toucan Energy Holdings, Joules Group, and Tolent. We also work with clients to help them create more value from their operations – particularly across the retail and manufacturing sectors. And we have strong relationships with many law firms whom we help to manage the data aspects of their clients’ business-critical disputes and investigations.”

Looking ahead, there are also a number of growing trends which may drive further work for the team. For example, while the phenomenon of ‘data everywhere’ might not be a new thing, “the need to harness its power is stronger than ever”. As businesses look to make the most of new technological solutions, Dunstan-Lee believes that firms will require more external human intelligence and know-how. Examples of this can already be seen in recent work taken on by Interpath’s data and technology wing.

“We supported a team of disputes lawyers in their review of documents in connection with a significant piece of litigation,” Dunstan-Lee noted. “We were providing them with technology that enabled a form of AI to be embedded in their review process, basically meaning the machine could ‘learn’ from the lawyers and replicate their decision-making regarding whether documents were relevant or not. The technology is very powerful and can save a lot of review costs, but specialists are needed to get the most from it. I think of this technology much like the use of a sniffer dog – it’s incredibly good at certain tasks, better than humans, but it needs a handler to understand its weaknesses and ensure it’s used in the right way.”

New opportunities

Speaking on why Interpath launched the practice, Head of Advisory, Mark Raddan, told, “At Interpath, we put technology and advanced analytics at the centre of how we are able to add significant value to our clients, whether that is in insolvency and forensics or M&A. It was great to recruit somebody of Alex’s calibre and experience at an early stage in Interpath’s journey to drive our growth and success in this priority area.”

Speaking on why he chose to start the next chapter of his career at Interpath, Dunstan-Lee said he saw it as a “unique opportunity”. The role offered the chance to build a modern data and technology consulting capability from the ground up, alongside a very established business.

“I enjoy the challenge of building and growing a capability and that sense of ‘start-up’ mode,” he expanded. “It’s in that sort of environment where you can really make an impact and see the fruits of your labour very quickly. At the same time, being part of something as powerful as Interpath, the leading turnaround and restructuring business in the UK, was clearly going to open up opportunities for my newly formed team. To some extent that de-risks the growth of the team and accelerates it.”

As Interpath’s data and technology advisory practice continues to expand, Dunstan-Lee encouraged anyone looking to build a career in advisory work to consider life with the firm. Noting there are probably not many consulting roles “where you would be subject to as much variety as in our practice”, he noted that people joining the team will continue to get “a varied exposure to clients and to other senior staff at Interpath,” making it “a great training ground.”

“We are not (yet!) big enough to have people just focus on one thing,” he concluded. “We need people to adapt and no two days will be the same. At the same time, this is a field that is subject to constant evolution as technology continues to advance. I have four children and my eldest is 17 this year. When I was that age, none of the services my team provides existed in their current form. It’s mind-boggling to wonder what our services will be like in another 30 years, but I’m convinced that people who can help businesses harness the power of data for competitive advantage are going to be in high demand for many years to come.”