On a day to day basis most people tend to believe in reasonable equal opportunity will bring the best results. However, to get ahead, you need an edge and often it is to have more or better information. Generally, most people will know or tend to know where the boundary is between legal and non-legal, leaving aside whether it is right or wrong. One method to gain an edge is to be a detective. You are wondering why your opponent is successful, how does he/she do it? One method of gaining success is partnerships – work with terrific people who are successful and some of that will flow to you, but are they good people to work with? The answer is for you or you to hire people to do detective work.
In a book written by Tyler Maroney called The Modern Detective – How Corporate Intelligence is Reshaping the World, published by Riverhead Books, NY, 2020 some of the ways detectives are used are outlined.
Before the 1960’s, the world operated on a moral code and people were to be inside that code. If you were outside and caught, if could and would affect your career within organizations which operated on the moral code. If you think about World War ears, if someone in government was gay, then they could be blackmailed. In the present time if someone is gay, there are much fewer blackmarks in an organization. The sex lives of Hollywood stars helps sells magazines.
In business, people make decisions on allocation of resources and where to allocate them. In public companies, investors expect while there are some slush funds, most of the business is legitimate revenue sources. In the book, there are a number of stories which allows the reader to see how the modern detective works. One aspect is to bring in skilled people to be able to copy a hard drive to see how senior partners believe a partner is structuring deals for their benefit rather than all the partners. Unfortunately, in this case the partner moved to another competitor rather than face jail time.
Often the modern detective is engaged in trying to find hidden assets from people who declare bankruptcy and flee the country. A great deal of business is done through the use of credit and successful companies tend to have access to larger credit lines until the economy changes and payments have to be made. During the good times, the owner likely has a very good lifestyle and bought many luxury items. When the downturn happens, people take their items and run, and detectives have to track them down to find hidden assets. The hidden assets can be both those in plain sight, where they are living, safety deposit boxes and accounts in banks around the world.
If companies are investing overseas, they need reasonable intelligence about what is happening in the country the company invests in. Detectives play a role in providing that information. Who are the players, what is the end game, is our investment safe and reasonable secure?
Detectives play a role in companies that are built by founders become public which allows shareholders however in reality are run by founders for themselves. In one chapter, the founder set up companies to pay members of the family rent from the use of warehouse. The issue arose the rent being charged was twice that of the surrounding buildings, who was benefiting? If the company is doing that, what else were they doing? It turned out there were many aspects of the company that were done to benefit the family but not shareholders. Eventually, the shareholders changed the auditors which alerted prosecutors that there were many other concerns. This resulted in the founder being charged with insider trading, fraud and tax evasion.
Linking to dividend paying stocks, large companies have many variables, and one continuing job is to allocate resources to the benefit of shareholders. While most shareholders expect the companies to make a profit to pay dividends, how it is does this subject to questions. Within the category of consulting fees, does that include detective agencies, should it?
There are more questions than answers, till the next time – to raising questions.