2015 Volume 3

Due Diligence Research in the United Kingdom

Often your due diligence needs transverse the globe. With the United Kingdom being a major European financial center, you should be informed about the unique obstacles and opportunities that UK investigations present as you evaluate potential investments there.

How does it differ?
Privacy laws in the UK, and in Europe in general, tend to be more strict and comprehensive than those in the US with regard to the handling of personal data. As a result, the type of information accessible in the UK, and the ease of which it is obtained, varies across sources.

What does it mean for investigative inquiries?

Credentials Verification
Guided by their country's privacy regulations, the majority of schools in the UK require signed consent in order to verify degree information on former students.

Likewise, a significant percentage of UK employers -- but not all -- will require signed consent in order to verify personnel information.

If you can obtain consent, you are going to be able to access valuable information that would otherwise be restricted.

Criminal Records
It is important to note that many litigation searches in the UK often require physically visiting the courts to directly place inquiries with court clerks.

Less serious criminal cases are handled by the Magistrates Court; more serious offenses are transferred to the Crown Courts. Subsequent appeals and cases of high importance will be elevated to the High Courts. These national and local records will cover approximately the last five years.

A full criminal check in the UK from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) can only be requested by the individual. An employer or "umbrella organization" can apply for a DBS check on a person only if a job requires DBS clearance (teachers, for instance), but not for the purpose of investment due diligence.

Credit Reports
Credit-related information on companies in the UK is readily available. This information typically includes a CreditSafe rating and key financials. It will also provide commentary relevant to the determination of the credit rating, top shareholders (if available), and rating history.

Privacy laws in the UK more heavily regulate what information can be reported to credit reporting agencies, and as a result, credit reports on individuals in the UK do not provide the same information one might expect to find in a US credit report.

Full credit reports on individuals in the UK are only available to a restricted group of members that typically includes banks and mortgage lenders, etc. Due diligence providers do not qualify as a member of this group. Outside of this option, the only alternative for pulling a credit report is for the individual to personally request it from one of the credit reference agencies.

Being aware of what information is available in the UK, and how to obtain it, places you in a favorable position to conduct meaningful and thorough
due diligence.

Utilizing Check Fund Manager's on-site UK investigator and obtaining signed consent will help put you on a successful path.

Case Study:

Media research disclosed that an investment firm we were researching had entered into a cooperative business partnership with another company.

What media would NOT tell you is that the target of our investigation had filed suit in the Queen's Bench Division of the High Courts against the latter firm.

Through extensive litigation searches, our on-site investigator found that the case involved defendants who were former employees of the target company. The suit took over a year to settle, and the documents were sealed from public access.

We have since discovered that the firms are no longer in partnership, which would be critical information to know as part of an evaluation for a potential investment.

To learn more about Check Fund Manager's due diligence background investigation services,
please visit

+1 860-666-9595


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