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SIA conference: Risk Advisory view

Bill Waite, Group CEO for the Risk Advisory Group, gave a presentation at the recent annual SIA conference on understanding the private investigations (PI) sector.

He suggested that the proposed regulating of PIs was disproportionate to the risks as identified; and argued that what was proposed does not comply with the Government’s own agenda on ‘better regulation’. He said that the proposals were counterproductive; but, there should be regulation of intrusive investigative processes as identified he added by the SIA, and Risk Advisory, in 2006. For a pdf of the presentation visit the SIA website.

He spoke of how the ‘activity’ of private investigation defined the sector. Besides the PIs that are what he called ‘traditional private detectives’, whether taking cases of divorce, or suspected fraud in personal injury, benefit or insurance claims; and the big audit and law firms that do investigations but are, he suggested exempt from the proposed licensing; the multi-national risk management consultancies, besides Risk Advisory, such as Control Risks Group, Kroll, FTI and Navigant; and boutiques, whether companies or consultancies. He raised also those who ‘obtain information’, asking whether falling into this category were head-hunters in recruitment; management consultants and political risk analysts.

Bill described his company’s work, in strategic business intelligence (understanding markets for clients), due diligence (companies’ integrity and compliance, whether under the Bribery Act or obeying international sanctions or other rules); employee screening; and work for clients against fraud and corruption, whether tracing witnesses and assets, or investigating cases. Clients range over banks, retailers, petro-chemical firms and insurers. While recalling the debate so far and the case made for regulating UK PIs, including what Home Secretary Theresa May said in her announcement of July 31, Bill Waite gave his view; that the criminal law already creates a regime which provides protections; that enforcement of such law, and not lack or regulation, was the issue; and that any new regulation should comply with government policy – such as, not giving business more red tape. He went over the requirements for any regulation: to be proportionate; consistent; transparent; and targeted.


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