FTI Technology has appointed Sandeep Jadav as its new managing director for Asia. He will be based in Hong Kong with responsibility for FTI teams in Shanghai, Tokyo, Singapore, and elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region.
Any thought that I might interview him before he goes has been anticipated by Kate Holmes, Managing Director of FTI Consulting in its marketing department, who has already done a comprehensive Q&A with Sandeep Jadav. You will find it here, and all I need to do is point to the key points arising from it.
Asia is particularly complex region
It is idly convenient to bundle the whole of the Asia-Pacific region together as if it were one place. It is, of course, a large number of economically-important countries with a range of languages, laws, data protection regulations and, not least, cultural differences between themselves and distinct from those obtaining in the US and Europe. China’s data protection rules, comprehending state secrets as well as commercial and legal issues, tend to dominate discussion, but each part of the region brings its own laws, problems and customs.
It is not just litigation Discovery
Electronic discovery for litigation is complex enough, particularly when cross-border discovery is required, but the range of work falling under the discovery umbrella extends all the time. Regulatory requirements outstrip those for litigation; investigations, whether state led or corporate, have long been the biggest area for forensic and discovery-type work, exceeded only by the growth of cyber security risk and the need to anticipate attacks as well as clear up after them.
FTI is a technology company
Sandeep Jadav makes the point that most of FTI’s competitors, in this region as elsewhere, are led by their audit practices whereas FTI’s primary focus is on the use of technology to solve an ever wider range of business problems.
The demand for skills
All over the world, one of the leading challenges is finding the right people to lead, manage and perform the increasingly complex range of functions required to support a technology-based business. The EU’s pending General Data Protection Regulation, for example, is mopping up much of the available talent, both at the regulators and in corporations.
Sandeep Jadav makes the point that Asia is particularly short of people who bring, as he puts it, “the right combination of technical, interpersonal and language skills” to the work.
Catching up with technology use
Much of my own focus in the last twelve months has been on the growing use of technology-assisted review and related tools in jurisdictions around the world. The Asia-Pacific region rarely comes up in these discussions save, perhaps, for expressions of regret from those who work there that the region lags behind in the adoption of technology.
As Sandeep Jadav points out, helping clients with the use of technology is one of FTI’s particular strengths, and he anticipates the growth in the use of technology tools and skills in the coming year.
There is therefore a difficult combination of difficult problems, shortage of people and a lag in technology adoption. Where others might despair at the combination, Sandeep Jadav seems to relish the challenges. I hope to get out to Hong Kong in 2018, and look forward to hearing then how he gets on.