Domingo 23 de Septiembre 2018
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GETTING THE DATA A property registry in Mexico. (Photo: Wiki Commons/Missatomicbomb)
SAVING TIME AND MONEY Evidencity CEO Sam Logan: "We are saving people time and money." (Photo: Evidencity)
Wednesday, June 6, 2018
Special Reports

Evidencity: Faster Due Diligence


New firm helps cut turnaround time for Latin America due diligence.

BY JOACHIM BAMRUD

Typically when many US law firms do due diligence in a Latin American country, they subcontract another, local law firm or local researcher in a process that could take up to six weeks.

However, a new firm is now offering to cut that time significantly while also allowing a dialogue in real time to provide feedback on information.

“Latin America is still very much a place where the information we provide is located in decentralized data bases,” says Sam Logan, CEO of Evidencity.  "And at the same time not even digitalized. Latin America is still part of the world where we continue to see analogue data, paper documents. One of best examples is Mexico where corporate registry information is at municipality level.”

Meanwhile, Latin America also has strict privacy laws that make it difficult to obtain data.

“Not just who shareholders are, but privacy in criminal litigation and some shareholder info for corporate records,” Logan says.

“When you need to pull info have to stand in line have requisite application, and then pay fee, and then go back when ready to pick up item. To varying degrees we may need to go several times before we can submit the request.”

And then there are unique, local challenges. In Caracas, Venezuela,  for example, you need to bring our own paper, because they don’t provide paper, Logan says.

“If you see sit in an office in Miami or New York and need info from Guatemala, Mexico, or Uruguay, you need to have local knowledge and a trusted provider that can stand in line for you,” he says. “Latin America requires a more careful approach, where you have a trusted provider on the ground that doesn’t pay a bribe and is honest and ethical.”

Evidencity offers law firms a chance to contract a researcher that can send immediate feedback and be available in real time for follow up questions which arise.

Customers log in to Evidencity’s web site, order the requested information, talk to the provider and get information within one to 15 days.  

BROAD COUNTRY FOCUS

Evidencity was launched in March 2016 with six Latin American countries -- Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Col, Chile and Venezuela -- and other top-tier emerging markets and has since expanded to all 17 Latin American markets.

Logan – its founder – is an investigative journalist who also founded Southern Pulse -- a human intelligence organization focused on security, politics, energy, and business in Latin America -- and has focused on organized crime, black markets, the drug trade, and other matters of security in Latin America. He is the author of This is for the Mara Salvatrucha: Inside the MS-13, America's Most Violent Gang.

Today, the company is seeing the greatest demand for information in Mexico, followed by Brazil and Colombia in shared second place, then Venezuela, followed by Chile and Peru.

Evidencity also does work in Ecuador, Guatemala, El Salvador and the Dominican Republic.

In terms of services, it is seeing the strongest demand for corporate registration information, information on director or shareholders and the ultimate beneficial owner (UBO).

It also has demand for information related to civil litigation and property records.

“In the Dominican Republic, we see a lot of demand on property records,” Logan says.

TYPICAL CLIENTS

The typical clients include the business intelligence sector, consulting firms and increasingly law firms.

“A lot of law firms in Miami may have relations with law offices in Colombia, but not in smaller capital cities,” Logan says.

Evidencity most often is working on behalf a larger consulting firm that in turn is working with a law firm or investment bank group or family wealth office, he says.

“The best fit are compliance specialists,” Logan says.

Evidencity’s key advantage is turnaround time, he points out.

“We’re breaking old habits,” Logan says. “When we get into a room and speak to fraud and compliance people, we are largely speaking the same language. It’s just the mechanics that are different. Time is one of the most important ones. Time is more costly than the cost of retrieving information  themselves.”

Meanwhile, cost may be a moving target for due diligence, but Evidencity offers low prices since it leverages its software.

“They can actually talk to each with other,” Logan says of the client and researcher. “It’s secure and anonymous. They don’t know your name and vice versa.”

Evidencity offers country cards – which provide free initial access to all the data that is available in 161 countries. (See the Mexico country card here).

“It’s like a restaurant, you can see the menu and get an opportunity to talk to the waiter (case manager),” Logan says. “In our business -- that level of transparency knowing what you get before you get it is [a big advantage].”

Evidencity also keeps its pulse on the regulatory environment in Latin America, including on such topics as Mexican reforms and what would change in Venezuela if Maduro gets pushed out.

BULLISH OUTLOOK

Logan is bullish on Evidencity’s business in Latin America.  

“I am really excited about the opportunity to bring this to …law firms,” he says.

He sees strong continued potential in a neighborhood that is very attractive for investors, but where there sometimes are speedbumps to attain records.

“I like to think Evidencity as the last line of data collection that can help those transactions that will flow or can’t happen because they can’t get information about the Dominican property owner or UBO in Mexico. We are saving people time and money.”


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