Kroll Experts

Colum Bancroft

Managing Director and Greater China Co-Head Investigations and Disputes

Asia Pacific

Kroll Associates (Asia)
1701-02 Central Plaza, 18 Harbour Road
Hong Kong

Colum Bancroft is a Managing Director and Co-Head of Kroll’s Investigations and Disputes practice in Greater China, including Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong. 
Colum has extensive experience assisting clients on local and multijurisdictional forensic accounting matters such as asset tracing and recovery; family, partnership, shareholder, and other business disputes; anti-money laundering; and fraud and corruption investigations.

Colum also has considerable expertise in both financial and business management, and in-depth knowledge of financial reporting, auditing, due diligence, and business valuations, and has worked on numerous IPO and M&A transactions. In addition, he has significant experience helping companies mitigate the risk of fraud and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and UK Bribery Act violations, developing effective internal controls, and implementing risk management, organizational, and operational improvements.

Having lived in Asia for more than 20 years, Colum has a strong understanding of the Greater China market, and has advised clients across a multitude of industries including manufacturing and construction; oil and gas; healthcare and pharmaceuticals; automobile, aviation, shipping, and logistics; property development; technology; financial and professional services; hospitality, gaming, and leisure; wholesale and retail; and education and non-profit organizations.

Prior to joining Kroll, Colum was a partner in the Hong Kong office of an international accounting firm, and for six years managed a group of companies engaged in purchasing, manufacturing, and interior contracting in Greater China. Thereafter, he developed and led the 20-strong forensic accounting practice of an independent professional services firm, and was retained on a wide range of matters to investigate, analyze, summarize, and present complex financial and business issues.

Professional Experience

Fraud/Corruption Investigations

  • Conducted a wide-ranging investigation into suspected fraudulent activities within certain China subsidiaries of a U.S. multinational, which identified fictitious and advance revenue recognition practices as well as those responsible, and quantified the losses incurred. The investigation led to a successful fidelity insurance claim by the client of over USD20 million.
  • Led a multijurisdictional investigation on behalf of a multinational that suspected malpractice on the part of the ex-general manager of one of its Eastern European offices. The investigation reviewed the group’s exposure to the FCPA and other regulatory non-compliance, and quantified the financial losses incurred.
  • Led an investigation into fraud and misappropriation of client assets at a Hong Kong securities brokerage firm, which involved extensive coordination with the Commercial Crime Bureau and the Securities and Futures Commission, and resulted in a successful prosecution by the Hong Kong Department of Justice (DoJ).
  • Appointed by the audit committee of a People’s Republic of China (PRC)-based, U.S.-listed company to carry out a forensic investigation into alleged financial and corporate governance irregularities, together with an FCPA compliance review.
  • Conducted numerous fraud investigations in China involving conflict of interest issues, information and asset misappropriation, and accounting irregularities.

DoJ and Other Regulatory Engagements

  • Appointed by the court as joint administrator to trace and secure the assets of a Hong Kong-based hedge fund after its directors had absconded.
  • Commissioned by a U.S. District Attorney’s Office to investigate and report on specific regulatory matters.
  • Appointed by the DoJ as an expert in two civil cases to establish the quantum of losses incurred due to breaches on government contracts.

Dispute Resolution

  • Retained in relation to numerous business and family disputes, often arising due to the alleged breach of fiduciary duty or other malfeasance, to ascertain the facts, quantify the financial impact, and provide written and oral evidence, as required.
  • Retained as an accounting expert to conduct a forensic audit of financial information for the purposes of an international arbitration seated in Singapore, culminating in the preparation of an expert report and giving oral evidence before the Tribunal.
  • Frequently retained, in either a party-appointed or single joint expert capacity, to analyze and report on the financial affairs of individuals involved in divorce proceedings. Work performed has included identification of, and investigation into, assets held through offshore structures; analysis of earnings from, and valuation of interests in, businesses; and preparing or critiquing Duxbury calculations.
  • Provided litigation support in relation to Hong Kong arbitration proceedings brought by a US company attempting to rescind, due to the alleged fraudulent misrepresentation of the sellers, a contract under which it had acquired a PRC logistics group.
  • Prepared an expert report for a Chinese state-owned enterprise in relation to court proceedings in Singapore.

Compliance Consulting

  • Supported the independent monitor tasked with evaluating a leading global bank’s progress in implementing remedial measures in both anti-money laundering (AML) and sanctions compliance. Work performed has included reviewing the bank’s risk identification and assessment procedures, compliance with local and international laws and regulations, and the effectiveness of the bank’s policies and procedures in various locations where it operates.
  • Led numerous contract audits, fraud risk assessments, and other proactive compliance reviews in relation to the China operations of multinational companies. Drawing upon Colum’s practical commercial experience in mainland China and making extensive use of data analytics, such reviews frequently result in the identification and remediation of internal control and other deficiencies, and support the recovery of financial losses.

Advisory Assignments

  • Appointed by various Hong Kong banks to review the operational and financial performance of PRC manufacturing companies, making viability assessments and recommendations for improving profitability and cash flow in order to optimize recovery of distressed assets.
  • Engaged by a Hong Kong-listed property developer to report on, and provide recommendations in relation to, the methodology for calculating management fee charges.
  • Carried out a detailed review of the accounting, internal control, and reporting procedures of a leading law firm, and prepared a report setting out findings and recommendations.

Education & Certifications

  • B.A. (Hons), Economics, University of Leeds
  • Fellow, Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales
  • Fellow, Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants
  • Practicing Member, Academy of Experts (UK)
  • Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (USA)

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