An Interview with
Total Credit & Risk Management Group
President & CEO
Total Credit & Risk Management Group ("TOTAL"), a business and trade name of Total Credit Management Services Hong Kong Limited, was established in August 1987 and for over 33 years has been at the forefront of providing global credit, risk and compliance management services, with a focus on the Greater China (Hong Kong, China, Taiwan and Macao) and Asia Pacific regions.
TOTAL’s range of Global Credit, Risk and Compliance Management Services include: Global Debt Collection; Business, Credit & Risk Reports, Commercial & Fraud Investigations, Asset & Skip Tracing, KYC/Due Diligence, Pre-Employment Screening, Credit & Risk e-Monitoring, Court & Debt Search, Accounts Receivable Outsourcing, Process Serving, and Official Public Filings Search.
TOTAL is a founding member of the Global Credit Solutions Group (“GCS Group”); Hong Kong Credit & Collection Management Association (“HKCCMA”) and ASIAGATE.
- GCS Group is a leading group in the development and provision of global credit and risk management, and investigation services. It currently maintains over 100 offices in 90 countries throughout Asia-Pacific, Africa, Europe, Middle East and the Americas.
- HKCCMA was founded on 15th December 1999 with its mission to bring the credit, collection and risk management industry in Hong Kong into a new era of professionalism, working with government, business and the community at large, so to establish the highest standards and work practice.
- ASIAGATE was formed by a group of the leading business, credit reporting and investigation companies in Asia Pacific, providing a one-stop centre for business and credit information, online and offline reports and investigation services in the region. At present ASIAGATE maintains a presence in Africa, Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Macau, Malaysia, Middle East, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
TOTAL's clients include government departments, banking and finance institutions, export credit and trade insurers and agencies, accountancy and legal firms, utilities, distributors, freight forwarding and logistical firms, hotels, importers and exporters, business associations, construction firms, foreign trade commissions and global gaming, leisure and entertainment establishment operators.
2 February 2021
Tell us about your background, and how you came to found your company?
I started my career in 1984 working as a Sales & Marketing Manager for one of Hong Kong’s largest credit reporting and collection companies. Subsequently, I co-founded Total Credit & Risk Management Group (“TOTAL”) in 1987 with my business partner Neil Wood (also Chairman of Global Credit Solutions (GCS) Group). Since then, I have contributed to various articles, industry newsletters, appeared in several television interviews for local and international media as well as seminars and conferences in Europe, Asia and USA where I have spoken about credit, risk and compliance management topics, focusing not only on Hong Kong and China but also on the international arena.
I formerly served as GCS Group’s Regional Director – Asia from 2000 to 2013, ACA International’s Asia-Pacific Director from 1999 to 2001 and held the post of Chairman from 2001 to 2003. I am also an active member of the World Association of Private Investigators (WAPI), National Association of Legal Investigators, Inc. (NALI) & World Association of Detectives, Inc. (WAD), as well having been Chairman of ASIAGATE since 2011.
As one of the founders of the Hong Kong Credit and Collection Management Association (HKCCMA), I was elected as the first Chairman of the association in January 2000 and served in this post from 2000 to 2010. At present, I am a fellow member, and member of HKCCMA’s Executive Committee and Chairman of the Certification, Complaint and Compliance Committee.
What is most important to you and your organization – mission, vision, or core values? Why?
TOTAL’s core mission is to provide a "one-stop" credit, risk and compliance management centre which aims to allow our clients to gain more insight into their business partners, employees, customers and suppliers in order to make more savvy choices or decisions.
At TOTAL, we value our extensive history, experience and knowledge in the specialized fields of Due Diligence, Pre-Employment Screening, and other in-depth background investigations including Asset & Skip Tracing. This enables us to filter our investigative methodologies through to standardized products and services, thus ensuring that our renowned quality is maintained at a consistent and high level. The result is that our “TOTAL” brand will continue to grow from strength-to-strength and we aim to set a unique example in the industry.
Can you explain briefly how your service(s)/product(s) works?
TOTAL’s reputation is built on a business model that aims to offer the highest available global credit, risk and compliance management products and services. Each of our products and services are conducted by our professionally trained and qualified staff who possess extensive experience in their relevant industry fields, in order to meet our clients’ unique requirements. As a general rule, we recommend a combination of our TOTAL Company Credit Risk Score Report (TCCRSR) and TOTAL Auto Alarm (TAA) service as a basic minimum to ensure an acceptable level of credit, compliance and risk mitigation.
The TCCRSR is designed to offer in-depth background information on commercial entities to verify their existence and thus mitigate any potential risk exposure. It provides information on a Subject Company’s operating address (if any), history, parent company (if any), management, banking, financial, operation & activities, trade payment, business/industry trends, court and debt records, property ownership records, related companies etc., and includes our unique TOTAL Credit Appraisal (TCA) rating and TOTAL Credit Risk Score (TCRS) that helps determine any risk factors. This is available as either a real-time database report (if available) or freshly-investigated and compiled.
The TAA is designed to monitor your customers against court and debt collection records. It automatically scans your targets in real-time and will instantly alert you (by email) whenever a record is matched. Essentially, the TAA is most effective after the TCCRSR has been conducted.
Alternatively, we also recommend our TOTAL Court Debt Search (TCDS) which offers round-the-clock unlimited searches of our unique court and debt collection databases (updated daily) to help check and monitor customers, suppliers, or business partners if they are listed with any records from the courts, magistrates and tribunals in the Greater China region.
How has the industry been changing in recent years?
The credit, risk and compliance management industry has been slowly evolving over the past decade with individuals and companies becoming more aware of the need to conduct background checks on their suppliers and customers in order to mitigate their risk exposure. These risks come in the form of companies who believe (incorrectly) that prompt payment is a reliable indicator of risk exposure until their client fails to pay or ends up in court or liquidation. If a background check was conducted earlier (prior to business engagement), then this may reveal negative information that could have been used to prevent or minimize issues later down the road.
KYC and Due Diligence have become the accepted norm and regulatory requirement for mergers, acquisitions, and new share offerings/IPO listings in order to identify or reveal any hidden or unforeseen information that would not have been known otherwise.
What makes you different from what’s currently available in the market?
TOTAL’s uniqueness is based on our extensive background and experience in corporate due diligence and investigations, which is then combined with our extensive database that contains 5 million+ individual and corporate records; 1.5 million+ Hong Kong commercial credit and risk reports; 3 million+ China commercial credit reports, 3 million+ court and debt records, and 2 million+ Property ownership records/transactions. . As a result of (significantly more) stringent requirements for due diligence, these core and specialized methodologies have been filtered down to benefit our standardized products and services.
Our services can be accessed by a user-friendly and secure online portal. Through this portal, you can obtain real-time database reports worldwide, place and track your new order requests, as well as access other online products such as our TCDS and TAA etc.
In addition, we also have extensive commercial and governmental connections, which enables us to obtain unique and specialized information which may not be easily accessible.
What does the future hold for your company?
2020 has been the most challenging year for our company. We have seen that virtually all countries worldwide are being affected with large scale infections of the general population which has led to hospitals capacity at breaking point and governments in various countries implementing mandatory quarantine and lockdown. This has led to an uncertain situation (despite the promise of vaccines from various countries) affecting all industries and businesses affected to some degree. Budget cuts, restructure and redundancies are not uncommon in order to maintain the operation of our business. However despite this degree of negativity, we have nevertheless been able to adapt and adjust to the current business environment by focusing on the roll-out of value-added due diligence products and services, which help our clients reduce their credit, risk and compliance exposure