Former executive director of the enforcement division of the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) Gerard McMahon is to be a special adviser on due diligence for a corporate and financial investigations specialist. Based in Hong Kong, O'Reilly Vernier & Gurka Limited (OVG) specialises in the investigation of corporate fraud, due diligence inquiries, identifying missing persons, tracing concealed assets, crisis management and defections of key employees. Mr McMahon left the SFC in December having worked for the regulator since its inception in 1989. 'As investment increases in China, Indonesia, Thailand, Burma and Vietnam, overseas investors will need to obtain information about the background of their partners or the companies in which they are going to invest,' Mr McMahon said. 'My job is to help clients focus on what they need to investigate during due diligence in merger and takeover cases.' He said OVG did not compete with the accountants or lawyers as the subjects of their investigations differed. 'OVG focuses on the personal background of the shareholders, directors or partners, or the companies' history and financial status. Accountants tend to focus solely on the figure. 'For example, the assets or machinery shown on the balance sheet may not really exist. The joint venture partner may be under investigation or have financial problems. OVG can trace these details to help investors to avoid losses.' OVG's managing director Anthony Gurka said the business had increased significantly in the past nine months. 'It is a trend for the Western or Hong Kong companies to invest in emerging markets in Asia,' Mr Gurka said. 'Investors can lose millions if they get involved with companies with financial problems. It is also embarrassing if they choose a partner related to organised crime or money laundering.' He said OVG also worked for the sponsors of listing candidates to ensure the companies' assets in China really existed. Mr Gurka says OVG can get a full report to clients within 10 or 20 days, backed up by a worldwide investigation network built up over 30 years. OVG employs ex-policemen from Hong Kong, Japan and Britain, former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officials and journalists in various countries all around the world. Mr McMahon is the third special adviser appointed to OVG. The other two are based in the United States and Japan.