Giant frauds like the Madoff scandal only succeed when people fail to ask the right questions, says Randy Shain, vice president of First Advantage Investigative Services, a due-diligence investigative firm based in California. Uncovering these scams requires financial skills, to be sure, but also a skeptical nature and the ability to ask the right questions and dig deeper for answers he says, in a recent article in New York Times’ Dealbook.
That’s why Shain suggests that the S.E.C. hire former investigative journalists – instead of lawyers – to uncover future misdeeds. Journalists are trained to question authority and be suspicious of facts until confirmed by multiple sources. They’re also less likely than first-year lawyers to use these regulatory jobs as stepping stones for a lucrative career in the very industry they’re investigating.
In addition, Shain says journalists are adept at developing many sources of information, speaking easily to back-office personnel and ferreting out information from former employees who may have insights that current employees can’t talk about. His own firm, which specializes in hedge fund background reviews, has hired veteran journalists for years. It also sounds like another skill set worth adding to your resume in your search for a potential hedge fund job.