Strategic Insight Group (SIG) is a private intelligence firm serving investors, corporations, and law firms.

SIG employs a unique zero-based analysis. Analysts assemble multiple data points according to tested protocols, drawing upon both open sources (OSINT) and close-source, in-country human intelligence (HUMINT). Analysis of the data suggests hypotheses, which are then tested through further rounds of data collection. SIG's zero-based analysis works organically upward from the data itself, resisting any prior assumptions and taking nothing for granted. Our intelligence process systematically resists biases and enables us to identify discontinuity as well as continuity.

It is the opposite of conventional thinking.  





SIG’s primary clients are investors, ranging from family firms and high-net-worth individuals to private equity firms and pension funds. SIG’s clients include several of the 20 largest investors in the world. Services include investigating potential investments (individuals or entities, and their competitors); analyzing markets and political contexts; and performing pre-transactional due diligence and post-transactional monitoring, including “indications and warnings” monitoring of industrial, political, regulatory, and security conditions.



SIG works for a range of public and private companies (often portfolio companies of investor clients), providing market intelligence (market entry and expansion); competitor, customer, and consumer analysis; investigation of potential partners or adversaries and their companies, including acquisition targets; anti-money-laundering and anti-corruption investigation; situational intelligence on problems; and political and regulatory intelligence.



SIG specializes in asset discovery and in intelligence on opposing litigants (to establish histories of persons and entities, links and connections, activity and behavioral patterns, strengths and vulnerabilities). 

Change-Risk Intelligence Unit


We live at a time of unprecedented change and upheaval

The old world order that has governed global political and business relations is under stress, and parts of it are failing and being swept away. At the same time, innovation is changing the game even as it is being played: new technologies and their often disruptive impact on societies throughout the world are creating unexpected challenges and opportunities. Technologies ranging from crypto-currencies to social media are radically and continually changing the nature of societies, with profound implications for investor and commercial interests in areas ranging from business competition to the role of the state. The combination of complexity and connectivity is producing financial, social, and political environments unlike any experienced before in human history. New currents and counter-currents appear daily on a local, regional, national, and international basis.

Most disturbing to many investors and businesses is the “over-the-horizon” and seemingly unpredictable nature of these changes, particularly as they echo across interconnected sectors and areas that have never before been so tightly coupled. As SIG CEO Dee Smith wrote in the lead article in The American Interest in September 2017: “The unpredictability of the current global system goes all the way up, and all the way down.”

It is not an exaggeration to describe these developments as representing a crisis, one that is generating a level of risk that is difficult to chart and difficult to navigate. But a crisis is also a time when new ideas, new opportunities, and new movements come into focus. This crisis, therefore, also presents exceptional opportunities. How can we take advantage of them?

New challenges require innovative approaches

Building on over two decades of expertize as a private intelligence agency focused on transactional intelligence, market intelligence, and geopolitical intelligence, as well as on the work of its executives and analysts in projects that have examined global change and its causes (see below), Strategic Insight Group launched its Change-Risk Intelligence Unit on 1 January 2018.

The purpose of this new unit is to help clients—especially but not exclusively large investors—reduce or manage risks associated with the accelerating speed, complexity, and unpredictability of change. It will also help them to analyze and capitalize on the opportunities emerging from these processes. SIG’s Change-Risk Intelligence Unit will:

  • define change-related strategies, operations, and tactics for investment and business projects in:

    • emerging and frontier markets

    • new industries and practices

    • existing industries and practices now facing rapid and disruptive transformation

  • understand and navigate geopolitical risks and challenges

  • assess and evaluate innovation in technology and the policy changes that it produces

  • chart emerging change-related opportunities in specific industries and sectors of interest to clients

  • discover investment and business pathways that integrate intelligence, situational awareness, and security

By harnessing SIG’s depth of experience in using true intelligence techniques to help investors assess transactions, partners, competitors, markets, and geopolitical risks in over 100 countries and in dozens of industries, SIG’s Change-Risk Intelligence Unit provides a unique and individualized approach to the risk associated with accelerating and disruptive change.

The new Change-Risk Intelligence Unit combines a team of multi-disciplinary experts with SIG’s global intelligence network and robust capabilities in flexible approaches. These include multiple-language open source intelligence, on-the-ground close source human intelligence in over 100 countries, and access to high-level sources in academic, think-tank, diplomatic, military, and business circles. The result is an unparalleled level of bespoke insight into the risks and opportunities of the moment in which we are living and the future into which we are moving, and how these relate to specific investment and business projects.

Approach and Resources

Themes related to Change-Risk are explored by members of SIG’s leadership team in the 5-part television series A World On The Brink with Dee Smith produced with Real Vision Television, in the book Splinternet: How Geopolitics and Commerce are Fragmenting the World Wide Web by Scott Malcomson, and in the essay Flattened: Disintermediation Goes Global by Dee Smith, named no. 3 of its Top Ten Essays of 2017 by The American Interest.


Vertical Diligence


SIG’s “vertical” or full-spectrum diligence is a unique intelligence product that integrates detailed examinations of individuals and entities with market research and political risk analysis.

SIG’s team begins with deep investigation of individuals and entities, identifying and testing hypotheses about their connections with each other, and then examining the markets and the political context in which they operate. Vertical diligence is accretive and iterative rather than linear. The investigations and analyses grow organically, with each version refining and expanding upon its immediate predecessors.

The final result is a product that places each subject of investigation in its commercial, social, and political context, providing a much stronger tool for decision making by investors. The information is presented in an accessible and actionable format that is tailored precisely to meet the needs and goals of the client.

Vertical, full-spectrum diligence is not backgrounding with a political and economic veneer. Instead, it is a tightly integrated and sophisticated intelligence product unique to each client and to each case. Our clients find the product especially valuable when looking at investments, such as funds, that span political jurisdictions, economic systems, and cultural environments.