UCLan graduate thriving in global fraud and asset recovery as senior investigator

During his MSc Financial Investigation degree, Harley was selected by his tutor at UCLan to join Martin Kenney and Co. Solicitors. This allowed him to begin his career as a Forensic Accountant.

Harley Thomas has always had an interest in finance and business. However, it was only after completing his undergraduate degree, BA (Hons) Accounting and Finance, when he really took an interest to forensics. Harley then decided to remain at UCLan and start another degree, MSc Financial Investigation. Harley said: “It is an extremely interesting field of work to be in, and each case has its own peculiarities which means that you are constantly learning and evolving with each development in the field.”

During his master’s, Harley was lucky enough to be chosen by his tutor Tony McClements, to join MK Solicitors for work experience. As well as being a lecturer on the Financial Investigation and Criminal Investigation courses at UCLan, Tony is also Head of Investigations at MKS. Harley’s Head of Firm, Martin Kenney, also has ties to UCLan as he’s a Visiting Professor at the School of Law and Policing. He has also previously ranked as the number one offshore asset recovery lawyer in the world.

When thinking back to his time as a student at UCLan, Harley recalls nothing but “happy memories”. Harley spent three years living and studying on campus in Preston, making many friends along the way. He credits his career success to UCLan, as the knowledge and strength he gained from his degrees made him “stand out” in the application process of his current role.

"My degrees and experiences at UCLan have successfully equipped me for working in the professional services industry."

Harley Thomas, BA (Hons) Accounting and Finance & MSc Financial Investigation graduate

After graduating, Harley trained at a local accounting firm in Blackpool to gain his Chartered Certified Accountant status, by qualifying with the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants ACCA. Since qualifying, he has joined KPMG as Audit Assistant Manager, before relocating to the British Virgin Islands to work for MK Solicitors.

Harley’s current role is Senior Investigator and Forensic Accountant where he predominantly works in global fraud and asset recovery matters helping the victims of economic crime. Harley’s clients are often victims of a fraud which has resulted them into losing almost everything, not just from a monetary or asset perspective, but from the mental and physical detriment it can have on them. Harley said: “It is extremely rewarding to assist those in that position and bring justice against the wrongdoers.”

Harley has achieved many great accomplishments both before and after graduating from UCLan. From achieving Dean’s List status to qualifying as a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE) with the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), and a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS) with the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists.

When asked about what advice he would give to perspective students, Harley said: “Work extremely hard and make the most of the opportunities which UCLan can afford you.

Networking is also crucial. Many of the frauds can transcend more than one jurisdiction, and nearly all our cases are multi-jurisdictional, with both onshore and offshore elements. Networking with those around the world is crucial in a pro-active manner to combating fraud.”

MK Solicitors have a long-standing relationship with UCLan’s School of Law and Policing. MKS sponsors the ‘Martin Kenney’ award which is awarded to one recipient of the MSc Financial Investigation course each year for their contribution to the field, with a prize of £1,000. Read more about last year’s award recipient.

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