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Neil Austin

Chairman

My area of expertise

Leading an international professional services business. My specialism is in the development and implementation of innovative strategies with a particular focus on business development and key client management. I also have expertise in all aspects of corporate finance in public and private markets.

Why I love what I do

The opportunity to apply over 40 years of experience to help the growth and development of a high quality professional services business serving global-leading organisations.

What sets Risk Advisory apart

The great people and their determination to deliver for our clients while maintaining the highest professional and ethical standards.

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Bill Waite

Non-Executive Director

My area of expertise

By profession I am a  lawyer – originally a criminal defence barrister and later a case controller at the Serious Fraud Office. Twenty-five years ago I started in the Risk Management sector and in 1997, I together with Richard Prior and Arish Turle, raised venture capital and founded the Risk Advisory Group where I held a number of positions. First, I was Head of litigation support; second, Chief Executive; and most recently as a Non-Executive Director.

Why I love what I do

I love sharing all of my career experience with staff to develop their skills so that they can better help clients and contribute to Risk Advisory’s growth.

What sets Risk Advisory apart

When we started Risk Advisory Group our ambition was to create a truly professional risk management consultancy.  That ambition required a total commitment to openness, honesty and transparency with clients about our knowledge skills and experience, methodologies, work product and fees.  With staff and other stakeholders we made commitments to treat them as professionals and to train and equip them to produce the absolute highest quality of work product.  These goals are perpetual – but I hope and believe they are what we were and continue to be known for.

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Pauline Caldwell

Non-Executive Director

My area of expertise

Providing strategic advice to boards, senior leaders and their teams. I’ve worked as a Global HR Director, HR Consultant, Executive Coach and Non-Executive Director across a variety of international professional service firms. In that capacity, I strive to bring out the best in an organisation’s people,  helping businesses achieve their wider goals.

Why I love what I do

I love being able to support senior leaders in reaching the most effective solution for their teams and organisations. What gets me out of bed in the morning is the opportunity to see these solutions embedded in organisations and witness the growth in senior leadership teams. And in doing so, I am fortunate to build strong and lasting relationships with really interesting leaders. 

What sets Risk Advisory apart

Their unwillingness to settle for second best and their aim to put clients and their people at the heart of everything they do.

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Chris Rowley

Chief Executive Officer

My area of expertise

I have over 20 years’ experience helping clients grow their businesses while protecting their brands, assets and people. In that time I’ve managed more than 500 different investigations, from Ecuador to Equatorial Guinea. More recently, I’ve led the growth of our investigations and intelligence business in the US and into other new markets.

Why I love what I do

Genuinely, the job is fascinating. Each year we work for clients facing hundreds of different scenarios, which means each day is different. Some call us because they’re reacting to a crisis, others because they are pursuing big opportunities. Our clients are market movers and supporting their strategy and decision-making is a big responsibility. 

What sets Risk Advisory apart

Very simple – it’s our people. The commitment to quality – in everything we do – runs so deep. It’s part of our DNA. 

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Mark Harris

Chief Financial Officer

My area of expertise

Working with multinational businesses to achieve their long term goals particularly around mergers, acquisitions and disposals.

Why I love what I do

I am excited by the challenge of finding common-sense solutions to complex multi-jurisdictional problems.

What sets Risk Advisory apart

Intellectual rigour and a determination to make comprehensible, often complex problems.

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Richard Prior

Director

My area of expertise

I have expertise conducting strategic intelligence around major corporate transactions, and advising clients on the risks of operating in Russia and in the oil and gas sector.

Why I love what I do

Seeing the results of our work in action.

What sets Risk Advisory apart

The perspective of three decades of intelligence industry leadership.

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Patrick Kelkar

Managing Director of Americas

My area of expertise

I have more than 25 years of experience in conducting investigations around the world, having worked in the Big Four, international organisations, high-profile public inquiries and as a senior leader at boutique investigative firms.  I specialize in investigating complex transnational fraud and corruption cases, as well as in fact-gathering investigations for litigators and their clients.

Why I love what I do

I’ve had the opportunity to work all over the globe on diverse issues and projects, having led matters in more than one hundred countries and conducted investigative work myself on the ground in approximately two dozen countries, including in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

What sets Risk Advisory apart

The intense focus on the quality and rigour of our work product.

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David Claridge

Director

My area of expertise

My original and abiding interest is in political violence and particularly terrorism. Over the years I have advised corporate clients on managing these and other geopolitical and security risks. I have taken a particular interest in risk modelling and building intelligence capability to sustain risk management decision-making. I am often involved in projects that require some application of technology and I have spent much of my career thinking about ways to systematise risk management in business. I have also been in various senior positions at Risk Advisory over the years so I suppose I am a bit of a jack of all trades.

Why I love what I do

There is always an opportunity to learn, whether from colleagues, clients or peers.

What sets Risk Advisory apart

We are obsessional about quality.

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Hannah Gilkes

Director

My area of expertise

Advising on strategic growth in complex jurisdictions. I’ve focused on sub-Saharan Africa for the past fifteen years and led more than 500 investigations across the continent.

Why I love what I do

I’m half Ethiopian and wholly committed to supporting development and investment across sub-Saharan Africa. I feel very lucky to have found a job that allows me to do this while learning so much about a continent that is equally diverse, complex and rewarding.

What sets Risk Advisory apart

A genuinely entrepreneurial mindset. The quality of our work sits on the shoulders of our ability to innovate – whether by finding new sources, discovering different ways through complex problems or seeking out interesting opportunities.

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Chris Ferguson

Director

Chris is a Director in our Business Intelligence and Investigations practice, and is based in London. He has particular expertise in the energy industry and frequently acts on behalf of our many clients from that sector, both on due diligence and other types of intelligence assignments. Prior to joining Risk Advisory in 2006 Chris worked as a member of Aon’s offshore energy broking team in London. 

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Lucia Gonzalez

Director of Operations

My area of expertise

Innovating on, and bringing structure to, the internal processes that underpin the work we do. Having started out as a researcher, I know how much effort, creativity, and dedication goes into this work. With that experience in mind, I ensure our staff are equipped to produce top-notch work for our clients, and that we continually develop our talent pool.

Why I love what I do

I am energized by breaking down complex problems that at first have no obvious solution. Whether it’s helping a client navigate a problem they’re facing and where they’ve hit a hurdle, or helping one of our team members figure out how to access quality intelligence in a tricky jurisdiction, it never stops being rewarding.

What sets Risk Advisory apart

Our willingness to share knowledge and experience in formal and informal ways. I have had many teachers at Risk Advisory that have shaped me by generously sharing their time and expertise.

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Angelina Vignare

Director of Marketing

My area of expertise

Devising and implementing a marketing and business development strategy that supports our wider business goals. I take the lead on defining our brand and market positioning to ensure the right messages reach the right audiences.

Why I love what I do

I am always driven to find platforms to broadcast our wide array of services and connect our experts with clients in need of high-quality commercial intelligence.

What sets Risk Advisory apart

Our constant commitment to quality, and our boundless appetite for innovation. But, above all, our people: when marketing our capabilities externally, I can always confidently say that they are the best in class.

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Walter Courage

Director

My area of expertise

Developing and maintaining close relationships with clients to understand their requirements and coordinating the internal skills to help our clients in the best way possible.

Why I love what I do

Working with a worldwide team of highly-skilled, intelligent and multinational groups of people. 

What sets Risk Advisory apart

Quality of colleagues – their integrity, ethics, loyalty and the close teamwork throughout the business.

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Tim Stanley

Director

My area of expertise

Advising clients on managing business risks in jurisdictions where the risks – reputational, compliance, regulatory, political, sanctions – are particularly high, or subject to geopolitical tensions. I spent over a decade working in Moscow at a time of increasing strain in relations between Russia and the west, and am now witness to many of these same challenges as they appear in the business environment in Hong Kong.

Why I love what I do

It’s become a cliché, but genuinely no two days are alike which helps keep you engaged and mentally agile. And I’ve always considered it a privilege to work with such diverse, high-achieving colleagues and clients from whom I learn a lot and continue to grow professionally.

What sets Risk Advisory apart

The commitment to quality here is embedded throughout all our work processes, whether in the hiring process, work product or account management, and is superior to anything I’ve seen in other professional services firms.

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Steven Westervelt

Director

My area of expertise

Whilst I’ve worked on over 100 investigations across Asia in the past decade, my passion and real area of expertise is aligning investigative and intelligence strategies with business strategies to add genuine value to our clients businesses.

Why I love what I do

Our business is one of constant intellectual stimulation – it demands mental flexibility that very few jobs offer on a daily basis. I get to help some of the world’s best companies grow their businesses and protect their reputations.

What sets Risk Advisory apart

The collegial, collaborative culture and extreme focus on delivering outstanding insights to our clients.

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Steffi Probst

Director

My area of expertise

Clients come to me because they want to know something – about a potential deal, a business partner, or a certain business environment. I’m an expert in helping our clients fill these knowledge gaps, with the right tools, in the right context and with the right emphasis.

Why I love what I do

It’s quite easy to become cynical in our line of work when you’re searching for signs of criminal or unethical behavior on a daily basis (and often finding them!). But after 15 years in this industry, I believe more than ever that our work matters and makes a real difference. It’s exciting and satisfying for me to help people make better decisions and work towards a more transparent and ethical business environment.

What sets Risk Advisory apart

We don’t believe in one-fits-all solutions. We know that different clients have different requirements and thus we listen carefully. And as a team, we then use our collective skills and global experience to find tailored answers that help our clients make truly informed decisions.

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Tim Roberts

Director

My area of expertise

I help clients and their advisors navigate complex disputes and investigate problems that could lead to a contentious scenario. I am a lawyer by profession – I trained and qualified with an international firm in London and spent several years in private practice before moving into the risk management sector.

Why I love what I do

The work we do is diverse and eclectic. I have the opportunity to help clients in a wide array of situations in jurisdictions all over the world.

What sets Risk Advisory apart

The people, the culture, and the depth of experience across the organisation.

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Onaiza Fice

Head of Learning and Development

My area of expertise

Designing and implementing a learning strategy to support the development of our people, enabling them to achieve their personal goals and wider business goals. Having previously worked in a client-facing role in professional services, I support our practitioners in striving to deliver quality and excellence to our clients.

Why I love what I do

I am passionate about coaching and collaboratively supporting our people to fulfil their goals and find purpose in what they do. I enjoy celebrating the diversity of our people in the different ways that they work and contribute to the organisation.

What sets Risk Advisory apart

The value and commitment placed on people development and the quality of service delivered to our clients.

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Ariana Issa

Head of EMENA

My area of expertise

A deep understanding of how to operate across the complex and heterogeneous landscape of western Europe and the Middle East. I have covered both regions for over 10 years and have particular expertise in discreet intelligence gathering, whether it’s in support of anti-corruption investigations, strategic market entry assignments, or political analyses.

Why I love what I do

Because no two projects are the same. I love the challenge of approaching every case with a fresh pair of eyes and finding answers to each client’s unique set of questions.

What sets Risk Advisory apart

Staying until the job is done.

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Dmitry Sachkov

Head of REEE

My area of expertise

I advise clients on the complex and constantly evolving world of international sanctions, be it to identify signs of circumvention of sanctions regimes or to evaluate the risk of a possible future designation. Anti-corruption investigations are another speciality of mine, especially in the life sciences and telecommunications sectors.

Why I love what I do

There is something deeply satisfying in seeing how our work boosts the value of a good reputation in the modern world.

What sets Risk Advisory apart

No compromises on ethics.

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Johan van Spengler

Associate Director

My area of expertise

I advise clients facing commercial disputes, internal investigations and other contentious scenarios. I have experience managing investigations across multiple sectors and geographies, and on matters relating to high-profile litigation and regulatory inquiries.

Why I love what I do

My role allows me to collaborate, on a daily basis, with highly experienced colleagues and clients from all over the world.

What sets Risk Advisory apart

The unparalleled geographical knowledge and extensive networks of our regional teams.

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Youri Smakouz

Associate Director

My area of expertise

I lead complex due diligence and anti-corruption investigations across the former Soviet Union space. My background is in banking and finance and I help clients to detect money laundering and financial crime patterns, as well as probe sources of wealth of high-net-worth individuals.

Why I love what I do

The thrill of getting to the bottom of complex things, working across diverse industries and different jurisdictions.

What sets Risk Advisory apart

Our commitment to helping clients solve problems.

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Andras Szirko

Associate Director

My area of expertise

Regionally, I have particular expertise in the political and business environments of the countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. In terms of sectoral knowledge, I bring additional experience in the wider energy sector globally, based on my prior career in the oil and gas industry and energy trading.

Why I love what I do 

Assisting remarkable clients and mentoring talented colleagues. 

What sets Risk Advisory apart

The acuity and collegiality of our people.

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Huw Charles

Strategic Operations Lead

My area of expertise

Complex assignments that involve significant exposure to government decision-makers, particularly in emerging markets. I advise clients on competitive government tenders, major infrastructure investments and sovereign lending transactions, helping them gain a commercial advantage in uncertain environments, often where the lines between business and politics are blurred.

Why I love what I do

Helping great businesses navigate uncertainty to deliver successfully in ‘challenging’ markets.

What sets Risk Advisory apart

Our creativity – everything we work on is bespoke.

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Ronan Burrows-O'Donoghue

Deputy Head of MENA

My area of expertise

Helping our clients navigate the nexus between business and politics in the Middle East and North Africa. I manage complex assignments across the region, from strategic market entry studies in Mauritania to fraud investigations in Afghanistan and enquiries into potential sanctions circumvention in Syria.

Why I love what I do

I love assembling jigsaws of data to provide clear and actionable insights. Having the support of an immensely talented team makes it all the more rewarding.

What sets Risk Advisory apart

Our people: their warmth, intellectual rigour, and dogged determination to answer any question that comes our way.

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Laura Seara Cabeca

Senior Associate

My area of expertise

Helping clients navigate delicate commercial situations in sub-Saharan Africa. As an Angolan national, I manage complex investigations in the Portuguese-speaking African world, ranging from anti-corruption investigations to multidisciplinary market entry studies and political analyses.

Why I love what I do

The satisfaction from deconstructing and solving complex problems, and ultimately enabling transparent and ethical investments.

What sets Risk Advisory apart

The unwavering commitment to solving clients’ problems  – a client’s concern is our concern.

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Samuel Pothecary

Senior Associate

My area of expertise

Conducting complex corporate investigations across a number of jurisdictions in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. As a certified anti-money laundering specialist, I have worked extensively on projects with an emphasis on spotting financial crime risks. In terms of sectoral specialisation, I often focus on the energy and infrastructure industries.

Why I love what I do

The never-ending conveyor belt of interesting projects, which enable us to gain a greater understanding of the inner-workings of the global business and political environment.

What sets Risk Advisory apart

A genuinely committed and diverse team of creative professionals who approach the industry with a refreshing attitude to problem solving.

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Eser Sarachoglou

Senior Associate

My area of expertise

I assist clients with navigating the complexities of markets in Turkey and Francophone countries. As a native Turkish speaker, I specialise in exploring the potential risks arising from perceived proximity to the government and political elite in the country. I also manage complex assignments ranging from strategic market entry studies in Turkey and the Balkans, to advising clients on competitive government tenders in central Europe.

Why I love what I do

Working in an environment where everyone around me is as committed to breaking apart a complex issue and not relenting until they get to the bottom of each line of enquiry.

What sets Risk Advisory apart

A genuine understanding and appreciation of jurisdictional nuances from a commercial, social and political perspective – we really are country experts.

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Farshid Farouk

Senior Associate

My area of expertise

I help our clients navigate challenging jurisdictions in the Middle East and North Africa. As a French-Iranian national having grown up in Dubai, I have experience in conducting complex investigations in the Maghreb, Lebanon, the UAE, and Iran. My work frequently examines the crossover between politics and business, as well as the sanctions exposure our clients face ahead of a prospective engagement.

Why I love what I do

Our work is an important factor for our clients to prevent money laundering, terrorism financing, and other financial crimes. I feel a sense of duty in helping companies make the right decisions when considering an investment in complex and volatile regions like the Middle East and North Africa – and I love that I am able to do so.

What sets Risk Advisory apart

The human aspect. Risk Advisory invests in its people and their career growth, helping them every step of the way to develop their due diligence expertise and careers. In turn, my colleagues and I give our all to answer our clients’ crucial questions and produce top-quality reports.