The critical role of journalists in conducting exhaustive due diligence

We often emphasise our reliance on journalists for our due diligence investigations. But what drives this choice, and why does it fundamentally set us apart from other providers?

The ultimate objective for us as a due diligence provider is to compile a dossier of actionable intelligence and recommendations which serve as the cornerstone for our clients to make informed decisions about potential partnerships. The gathered intelligence must be thorough, impartial – and above all – precise. Without meeting these criteria, it would be impossible for our clients to make decisions that are both well-informed and adequately risk-mitigated.

Within the industry we see competitors producing reports with intelligence derived from machine-driven data pulled from databases. While some quantitative information gathering might benefit from such methods, the reports typically lack contextual information necessary to extract meaningful insights.

When machine-driven due diligence fails

An example where additional context and further research is nearly always required is in validating registered business addresses – crucial for corroborating ownership. In our work we’ve previously uncovered instances where registered addresses are inaccurate or misleading. Via our on-the-ground enquiries we’ve seen first hand when premises have not accurately reflected the company; premises have been residential or even empty. Such discrepancies would have remained undiscovered without direct on-site investigation.

Without this crucial information to establish an accurate understanding of a company’s ownership structure – and therefore its liabilities and financial status – clients remain unaware of potential financial or criminal issues associated with the company. This means they could be operating in a partnership without full knowledge of the company’s background – therefore exposing themselves to significant risk.

In a similar vein, the rise of automated due diligence through AI – as reported in this TechCrunch article – has the potential for exposing clients to risk.

AI systems are only as good as the data they’re trained on, and biases within that data can result in skewed outcomes. AI is also prone to ‘hallucinations’ – either when AI makes incorrect predictions, gives false positives or false negatives i.e. when it identifies something as being a threat when it is / is not, respectively. At the moment it is certainly no credible replacement for human investigations.

Shared principles between due diligence and investigative journalism

Investigative reporting is underpinned by ensuring that stories are based on verified facts rather than conjecture or bias. Journalists meticulously verify the credibility of their sources, and while others may rely solely on official statements or surface-level information, journalists delve deeper to uncover details and discrepancies that might otherwise go unnoticed. They also triangulate information from multiple sources, providing a more nuanced and accurate portrayal of events or individuals.

Context is king

Journalists play a crucial role in contextualising information; for example providing historical background, analysing trends, or highlighting potential implications. For InsightX, using journalists to provide this contextualisation is invaluable from a due diligence perspective, as it enables our clients to assess risks and opportunities with greater clarity and foresight.

Powered by high-quality research and journalism

We are proud to employ journalists trained to standards set by the National Council for the Training of Journalists. The NCTJ is recognised as a world-class standard.

In today’s complex world, where information can be easily obscured or manipulated, InsightX relies on our network of journalists to conduct exhaustive investigations, across multiple languages and jurisdictions.

No other provider goes as far as InsightX to deliver detailed, actionable intelligence and recommendations. Due diligence demands the uncovering of vital information while ensuring utmost accuracy – and journalists are key to that.

Leading brands, clubs, agencies, rights holders and institutions trust us to guide their decisions when partnering with suppliers, considering player transfers, activating sponsorships, using endorsers and influencers and in mergers and acquisitions. If you would like to see how InsightX’s approach can help you make better decisions please get in touch.

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