Asset Management

Asset management is a fundamental, but often overlooked or underdeveloped area of asset recovery.

It is the process of overseeing and administering assets that have been seized, frozen, or confiscated as part of a prosecution or civil claim, through restitution orders, or voluntary surrenders linked to economic crimes and corruption.

The objective of the management of recovered assets is to ensure that the value of property or money seized or forfeited is preserved in an efficient, transparent and accountable manner with the intention that benefits could be derived from the assets.

Assets subject to recovery proceedings require management at two stages in the asset recovery process.

  • First, during the interim phase when assets are frozen or seized and placed under the control of law enforcement authorities, a specialised asset management offices or a court-appointed judicial manager.
  • Second, at the conclusion of a case or after voluntary surrender, when authorities are tasked with managing an asset that has become the property of the state or should be returned to its original owner. In the former case particularly, this may also involve decisions about the (social) reuse of physical assets or the use of assets to compensate victims of crime.

The management of recovered assets is a complex process that requires various factors to be considered: the nature of the asset, the amount and value of assets recovered, the cost of maintenance and storage, the rights of the owner and third-party interests, potential outside management arrangements, the involvement of stakeholders, regulatory requirements, and the disposal and cost of disposal of the assets.

The ultimate aim of asset management should be to restitute and benefit the victims of crime and corruption, alongside society more broadly. In doing so it is important to adhere to standards of transparency, participation, and accountability.

What we’re doing

CiFAR’s work on asset management over the past years has been to work with partners to understand and analyse developments in asset management and the challenges that are still existing in many jurisdictions. Out of this, we have produced research and principles aimed at strengthening how coutries manage the frozen/seized and recovered proceeds of corruption and we continue to work with partner CSOs to support reform.

Civil Society Principles for the Accountable, Transparent, and Participatory Management of Frozen and Recovered Assets

The Civil Society Principles for the Accountable, Transparent, and Participatory Management of Frozen and Recovered Assets are designed as high-level principles on the accountable, transparent and participatory management of frozen and recovered assets. These principles apply to both the management of assets following the imposition of sanctions or during prosecutorial and judicial processes (frozen or seized assets), and post-confiscation.

Best Practices and Challenges in the Management of Recovered Assets

This report aims to fill evidence gaps by analysing approaches and strategies to the management of domestically and internationally recovered assets as a frequently overlooked and underestimated stage asset recovery. Focusing on the African continent and zooming in on the civil society perspective, this report discusses the challenges and opportunities in the promotion of the transparent and accountable management of recovered assets.