“Till death do us part.”
Ah yes, the classic line included in millions of wedding vows all over the world. Unfortunately, considering that the divorce rate in England and Wales is approximately 42%, marriages often end well before one of the parties expires. Since most wedding vows neglect to include a clause requiring full disclosure and access to their other half’s assets at all times, divorces can lead to some pretty messy settlements. If one of the parties is unwilling to fully reveal their funds and has assets stashed away in a secret bank account or even another jurisdiction, it can be difficult to secure the means to properly support yourself and any children in your custody.
Unexpected betrayals can occur in the corporate realm as well — a rogue executive could flee to another country with company assets overnight, a trusted manager could be engaged in a money laundering scheme, and intellectual property theft could be a disgruntled former employee’s method of revenge.
Victims of bad faith actors, whether in their personal or professional lives, can turn to asset tracing in order to obtain a more just outcome. Asset tracing is the process of tracking items of value (financial or otherwise) with the hope of locating and potentially recovering them.
Asset tracing can include a myriad of approaches including, but not limited to, sifting through company databases, government records, bank statements, and even social media platforms — all in a legal, professional, and discrete manner. If you or anyone else is considering litigation against a party believed to be illicitly hiding assets, turning first to asset tracing can save both time and money. Before proceeding with litigation, there are two main questions that a firm specialising in asset tracing can help you answer:
1. Do the assets even exist and if so, are they worth it?
2. Can the assets be obtained?
For the first point, forensic accounting can identify financial discrepancies that an ordinary person might miss. Using this information, you can then see if it would be worth spending time and money to pursue these assets. A forgotten bank account with a meager balance might not be enough to justify the hefty legal fees associated with litigation.
The second point is more nuanced, however. Even if the assets exist and even if they are substantial, one must consider both their liquidity and the legal jurisdiction that they are in. Real estate in a foreign country halfway across the world would be much more difficult to liquidate than a “hidden” bank account across the street. An asset tracing firm such as Wicker Hamilton can properly analyse the situation holistically and give advice on how best to proceed.
Here at Wicker Hamilton, we offer 21st century asset tracing services by utilising both our expansive global network of investigators and state-of-the-art proprietary cyber technology in order to conduct thorough, discrete investigations for our clients. Our cyber investigation platform identifies backgrounds, networks, commercial interests, assets and exposures of private individuals, corporations and institutions while our social media monitoring platform monitors and maps live social media feeds and other digital media inputs.