(202) 887-9363

Frequently Asked Questions

What services do you provide?
We provide a variety of services to small, medium and large companies in the United States and abroad. These services include:

  • Worldwide due diligence on corporations and individuals
  • Business and competitive intelligence
  • Mergers and acquisition business intelligence and support
  • Background investigations on individuals and corporations
  • Global investigations
  • Litigation support
  • Security consulting for companies with international operations
  • Political risk assessment
  • Threat assessment of countries / locations of corporate subsidiaries / facilities
  • Risk avoidance counsel
  • Training on recognizing and avoiding fraud
  • Around-the-clock security details (including armed bodyguards and armored vehicles) for overseas operations, expatriate employees, and corporate personnel traveling abroad
  • Asset searches
  • Support for compliance programs related to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)
  • Support for compliance programs related to the USA PATRIOT Act

Please call us for a complimentary initial consultation. We offer a variety of services to individuals and companies in all industries and can customize our services to your needs. We would be pleased to discuss your special circumstances and requirements.

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Why should I conduct due diligence?  Why should I hire someone to do it for me?
We believe that everybody should conduct a basic evaluation of the people and companies with whom they are dealing. Before you entrust your business and reputation to someone, make sure they are who they say they are and have the qualifications they say they have.

Our recommendation: Know where you are going and how to get there. However, conducting an Internet search is not enough. You need qualified, capable, real-world professionals to verify the information you have been given, alert you to information you don't have, and prepare you for the country-specific risk factors and political risks you might encounter. Given our background and access to a global network of resources, we are in a great position to verify the qualifications and check the background of your business partners, contractors, vendors, employees, salespeople, bankers and anyone else who may be critical to your company's successful operations.

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What makes Smith Brandon International, Inc. unique?

  • Personal attention. SBI is a boutique firm which means we are able to provide personal attention to each client. SBI prides itself on the participation of one of its principals in each and every project. They provide a single point of contact, easy access, and review of all work before it is presented to the client.
  • Worldwide services. While many companies offer similar services, SBI can offer these services to clients all around the world.
  • Meetings tailored to the client. SBI is available to meet in person; however, in a busy world and a global economy, SBI can also start work based on a phone call or email. With consultations, SBI can move on a project within 24 hours of authorization, virtually anywhere in the world.
  • Depth of professional resources. SBI is headquartered in Washington, DC, with a network of associates across the US and around the world. Our associates are typically professionals from the business, financial, legal, diplomatic, intelligence and law enforcement communities who have had extensive training in investigations.
  • Unparalleled expertise. SBI's principals have a lifetime of experience in providing investigative, due diligence and security consulting services to clients worldwide. They are internationally recognized and respected for their work in challenging environments, supporting companies in all stages of their operations across multiple jurisdictions.
  • No bluffing. If we are not in a position to assist on a project, whether it is due to the level of requirements, political instability in a particular country or region, or a personal issue for a trusted source (e.g., injury or illness, etc.), you will be informed of the issue. We may suggest an alternative approach.

For additional information, please refer to our About Us section.

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In which countries do you operate?
Because our coverage is so extensive, no country is beyond the scope of our investigations. We are experienced and qualified in working around the world. We have lived and worked abroad, and have government service backgrounds that assist us in understanding how governments work. Personal contacts are critical to understanding the local environment; to understanding "red flags"; and to recognizing opportunities for growth and expansion. We have a worldwide network of such personal contacts, and eagerly make use of them in our investigations. Our associates are all professional investigators, drawn from the business, financial, legal, diplomatic, intelligence and law enforcement communities. We can assist with due diligence investigations, background investigations, litigation support, etc., in countries around the world. Click here to view our Global Coverage Map.

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What resources do you use?
We have an experienced, qualified staff headed by our principals, Gene M. Smith and Skip Brandon. Our staff is trained in research, analysis, and writing skills that relate to countries, industries, and corporate operations. They are experienced in pursuing multi-tiered, multi-jurisdictional investigations around the world. They have access to state-of-the-art and proprietary databases, as well as access to reliable in-country sources around the world that have been part of the SBI network for many years. Our principals, Ms. Smith and Mr. Brandon, coordinate all research and writing and review every report before it reaches the client.

We treat our sources with the same discretion as we treat our clients and are unable to disclose details of our professional associates. However, we can provide details on their qualifications. Our in-country sources are trained, experienced professionals from the business, financial, legal, diplomatic, intelligence, and law enforcement communities. We work with these sources to obtain information on the reputation of the subjects of the investigations and to review public records.

SBI is able to contain project costs by working with local resources and partners on a case-by-case basis rather than opening offices in all locations where SBI operates. This eliminates overhead and other costs related to overseas office operations. This arrangement eliminates layers of bureaucracy between the client and the final reporting, which contributes to a more efficient response and lower expenses.

In limited circumstances, Ms. Smith and Mr. Brandon are available to pursue in-country investigations that require immediate, in-person investigations. These investigations are typically of a more complex nature and require briefings and in-depth preparation prior to any travel to the operations under investigation.

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Are your sources reliable?
Yes. We only use sources that are well known to us from prior investigations and from many years of professional cooperation. We think the use of experienced, in-country professionals with access, and well-honed skills and capabilities serves as an excellent point of reference that supplements and supports the information we obtain through research or from information providers or public records. In some instances, we engage duplicate resources to enhance the coverage and ensure the reliability of the reporting.

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How much do you rely on databases to complete projects?
In the US: Many US databases can provide information such as contact information, address histories, names and addresses of relatives and neighbors, certain assets (e.g., airplanes, boats, or cars), corporate affiliations, litigation history, and UCC filings. However, many of these databases contain duplicate and sometimes even inaccurate information; it may require careful review to decipher and delineate the critical information. We use experienced analysts to review this data. Generally, databases alone are only the starting point for a SBI investigation and must be supplemented by on-site investigations, such as verifying an actual street address for a person or office, retrieving pertinent court records, or contacting local references in regard to a business or an individual.

Outside the US: Databases abroad are the exception, not the rule. We generally confirm or double-check the information garnered from the databases (when they exist) and local (in-country) media resources with our in-country sources for accuracy and additional information on the subject of the investigation.

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Is your information legally and ethically obtained?
Yes. We only conduct operations in a legal and ethical manner. You can expect the highest standards in our work and our products.

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Do you provide analysis along with information?
Yes. We provide details that are based on in-country reporting, as well as analysis of the reporting to assist in interpreting the information. We typically resolve any conflicts in the reporting from our sources and insist upon clarification of information before we send you our report. We are dedicated to producing a premium report in a timely fashion, and you will be able to rely on our reporting and our analysis of the details provided.

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Who are your typical clients?
We do not have a "typical" client. SBI has served hundreds of clients, which include many Fortune 500 companies, as well as small and medium-sized companies in the United States, the European Union, Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. We address investigations and consulting needs in all industries, ranging from the financial, legal, and pharmaceutical industries to the energy, insurance and real estate sectors.

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Do you have references of current and former clients?
Yes. References can be provided upon request. Due to the confidential nature of our work, we generally do not disclose the names or addresses of our clients. In special circumstances, we are able to provide you with references from selected clients. Please call us to discuss your need for references.

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Will my inquiry be treated confidentially?  Will the subject be aware of an on-going investigation?
Unless authorized or specifically instructed by you, we treat all inquiries with complete discretion and confidentiality throughout the investigation and past the completion of our assignment.

If the investigation is to be discreet the subject of the investigation will not know an investigation is taking place. Our local associate is generally not provided with full details regarding the purpose of the investigation or the ultimate client requesting the investigation.

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How quickly can you get me information to support my decisions?
Every case is unique and the time required to provide you with a report depends in part on the information you are looking for. Before accepting a case we will give you an estimate of the expected turnaround time, taking into account possible delays in obtaining results from foreign government agencies that are often not as easily accessible as American government agencies. Our network of local investigators is a major factor in our ability to reduce the turnaround time as they are very familiar with the local systems and are able to quickly cut through red tape to obtain the desired information.

We understand that your requests are critical and strive for the quickest possible turnaround time. SBI can move on a project within 24 hours of authorization, virtually anywhere in the world.

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I have an emergency; can you help me immediately?
We understand that sometimes emergency situations come up unexpectedly, and need to be resolved quickly. We encourage you to call us immediately to discuss your problems. In previous cases, especially those relating to physical security, we have safely supported our clients' operations within less than 24 hours of contact.

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How much do you charge for your services?
Our prices vary depending on the specific requirements of a case; the country and city in which an investigation is conducted, the complexities of a case, the time constraints, and other issues that relate to the sensitivity of the investigation itself.

In general, we work on a fixed fee basis. Once we have obtained details related to your specific issues and your goals, we will outline the proposed professional services related to your specific case and any case-specific expenses that are anticipated. Our fees will include standard expenses, such as in-country sources, proprietary database access and overhead expenses. The exception will be travel expenses or other substantial changes in services rendered, with all such variations subject to prior authorization by the client.

For example, an investigation of an individual in the US alone will be less expensive than an investigation of an individual with residence or business operations in, for example, the US, the Caribbean Basin, Panama and Uruguay. Fees will also vary with the nature of your case, i.e., the fee associated with investigations of an individual will be different than due diligence on a business with operations in several countries. In general, certain jurisdictions are more difficult than others; our fees reflect this variance.

Please call us for a complimentary initial consultation to discuss your case. A binding non-disclosure agreement can be completed prior to any consultation. Consultations can be conducted in coordination with legal or corporate counsel, as appropriate. A conflict check will be conducted to ensure there is no conflict of interest on the part of SBI in discussing your business operations.

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Can you locate missing persons?
We have successfully located persons who have relocated outside the US to avoid prosecution or to conceal money or assets they embezzled from our clients. We have also located persons with personal or family ties who had lost contact with friends and family members for various reasons. You may contact us at any time to discuss your case with us. We would be pleased to discuss with you how we can best assist you in locating missing persons.

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I think my spouse is cheating on me.  Can you help me?  Do you provide accident investigations?
While Smith Brandon International, Inc. does not provide personal surveillance, or accident investigations, we can refer you to reliable companies that specialize in investigations related to marital disputes or accident investigations.

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Can I become an investigator for you in my local business community or country?
We usually work with investigators who are personally known to us from prior projects or previous professional association. However, we are always interested in hearing from qualified individuals with a background in professional investigations. Please fill out the form in our Contact Us section and we will contact you if we have an immediate need for an investigator in your local business community. You can also send us an email at info@smithbrandon.com or send us a fax at 202-887-1395. We make a point of contacting individuals during our frequent international travel; we would be pleased to meet with you as our schedules permit.

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Smith Brandon International, Inc. (SBI) conducts international investigations and global due diligence investigations. SBI provides actionable business intelligence and risk avoidance counsel to assist companies in their international operations. SBI's principals are grounded in investigative, analytical, and intelligence gathering techniques, drawing on decades of experience in the FBI, CIA, intelligence circles and the private sector.

For more information, please call 202-887-9363.

What Others Are Saying

“Excellent report as always. We truly found it extremely helpful.”

DirectorEuropean Hotel Group

“As always, perfect. The client on the project in Taiwan was most pleased.”

DirectorInvestigative Firm

“...you definitely helped [our division] and the whole company improve ... so [we] can make better informed decisions regarding our strategy.”

Strategy DirectorMajor Infrastructure Firm

“The reporting you just furnished us has helped us avoid a major mistake in looking at the potential new partner ... we are very pleased.”

VP for ComplianceInternational Construction Company

“Many thanks for your reporting and willingness to talk with us about what it means. You are correct, we do have an issue and we will take corrective action immediately.”

Corporate CounselInternational Pharmaceutical Company
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