Risk consulting company Kroll has announced the appointment of Chris Leahy as managing director in Singapore. He will focus on the financial services industry across Southeast Asia, advising private equity firms, hedge funds, investment banks and corporates on all matters relating to pre-transaction and post-transaction due diligence, regulatory compliance and corporate governance.

ôIt's more akin to an investment banking set up,ö says Leahy. ôYou have senior people marketing and liaising with clients developing business and with a line of responsibility on delivery within the investigations themselves.ö

As the return of capital markets interest in Southeast Asia leads to more investigation business, he will also be hiring more staff in Singapore.

When referencing hedge fund managers, Kroll may be asked by potential investors not only about reputational issues but also, for example, how a fund went about achieving a spectacular return.

In Asia the main reputational stains on the alternatives industry in recent years are the collapse of SingaporeÆs Aman Capital Global Fund because of derivatives trading in Korea composite stock price index, and the four and a half year jail sentence for Charles Schmitt of HK CSA Absolute Return Fund for channeling $190 million into his personal accounts.

Mindful that in Southeast Asia it is hard for businessmen to prosper unless they play along with government and bureaucrats, Leahy says that in Asia, they have to æcontextualiseÆ their findings.

ôIt is difficult to be a businessman in Indonesia without political connections. You have to understand the context of the place,ö says KrollÆs Chris Leahy.

When doing a due diligence project in a private equity target, as well as checking out the principal individuals, Kroll will look into accounting systems and processes, for example, laxness in approval processes with payments, and will screen staff for their relationships with vendors.

How much all this costs is difficult to establish on an æoff-the-cuffÆ quote basis. ôIt might equate in the final analysis to Decimal points of the value at riskö, says Leahy. ôWe have a reputation for being expensive, and its not true,ö adds Jack Clode, KrollÆs managing director in Hong Kong.