Companies' currency is information

Take a look at corporate investigation companies from around the world.

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Corporate investigation and intelligence companies range from one-man operations to global networks but they all trade in the same currency: information. Whether it is insight into a potential business partner's past or helping an executive track down fraud in a company, these organisations provide hard-to-obtain solutions to problems in the business world. Kroll, New York Jules Kroll founded his company in 1972 in New York City, a point that many in the industry see as a turning point for corporate investigations and intelligence companies. It rose from a small private investigations company to a US$1 billion (Dh3.67bn) corporation with 3,800 employees across the world. In 2004, Mr Kroll sold the company to Marsh and McLennan Companies but he has already started working on a new company called K2.

GPW, London As a boutique company based in London, GPW has the luxury of focusing on fewer investigations. It is led by a triumvirate of experienced investigators, including Patrick Grayson, Andrew Wordsworth and Peter Pender-Cudlip. In recent years, they have built up a strong eastern Europe practice and work with many of London's premier banks and investment funds. Lancers, New Delhi Established in 1980, this company has grown alongside India's economic boom. Lancers is one of the biggest investigation companies in the country and is headed by Kunwar Vikram Singh, who was once described as the "Indian Sherlock Holmes".

Control Risks Group, London As one of the UK's major corporate security and investigative agencies, Control Risks can help negotiate in kidnap situations, investigate fraud and provide detailed assistance for companies setting up in new markets. Like Kroll, the company has grown in the past decade to become one of the largest in the industry. Whispering Bell, Dubai Launched last year by several investigators who had worked in the Middle East, Whispering Bell is a kind of collective for people of varied talents: forensic accountants; computer specialists; former law enforcement officers and investigators. The company's name comes from a flower that produces seeds that can survive forest fires and are "adaptable to any conditions".

Veracity Global Market Intelligence, New York Focusing solely on emerging markets, Veracity is made up of analysts, businessmen and former intelligence agents. They help major investors enter riskier markets such as Africa and eastern Europe. bhope@thenational.ae