Interview: Brian Stuart and Glenn Barden of FTI Consulting on the uses of Relativity Trace

At Relativity Fest in London, I spoke to Brian Stuart and Glenn Barden of FTI Consulting about FTI’s use of Relativity Trace on behalf of clients. I began by asking what Relativity Trace is.

Brian Stuart said that Relativity Trace is a communications monitoring tool used, for example, for the surveillance of traders and others whose actions and behaviours can influence markets, for example by insider trading. Relativity Trace gives real-time insight into such manipulation.

FTI Consulting has long been working with the compliance departments of clients, looking back over historic data for evidence of improper conduct. Banks and others who were being fined for the behaviour of their employees have been looking for a means of monitoring them on an ongoing basis so they can enforce acceptable behaviour.

If the most obvious challenge is increasing volumes of data, the next burden is ever-changing regulations. With every revelation about wrongful conduct, the rules are tweaked to cover it. Businesses change their operational structures, enter new areas, or acquire new operations, and every change means they must readapt their compliance systems. Multiple rule-makers in multiple jurisdictions want different things, and it is not easy to keep up. The Panama Papers revelations had increased interest in identifying those who were moving money and in looking for its source.

Glenn Barden said that FTI is doing what it has always done for clients. What has changed is the timescale for identification and reporting. This used to involve long lead times, uncovering behaviour weeks or months after it took place. The pre-emptive nature of modern tools like Relativity Trace means that checks can be made every 60 seconds and reports of suspect behaviour can be delivered to the right reviewer at once.

This is not a magic bullet but a continually evolving process. The technology alone is not enough – it needs intelligent use, partly to make sure that the reaction is proportionate, and partly so that you know that you are not “solving the wrong problems”.

New actors arrive all the time, with new ways of behaving. Keywords alone are not enough to address this. Relativity Trace acts as a bridge between search terms, rules and actions and can, when combined with other techniques, be used to observe changes in tone over time which may flag up people who should be investigated.


About Chris Dale

I have been an English solicitor since 1980. I run the e-Disclosure Information Project which collects and comments on information about electronic disclosure / eDiscovery and related subjects in the UK, the US, AsiaPac and elsewhere
This entry was posted in Discovery, eDisclosure, eDiscovery, Electronic disclosure, FTI Consulting, FTI Technology, Relativity and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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