Leading anti-money laundering specialist SmartSearch has revealed Guy Harrison as its new chief executive.

He will drive the West Yorkshire firm’s strategic plan for growth, arriving at the Ilkley headquarters from Dow Jones.

The former general manager of the risk and compliance division – a global leader in regulatory and risk management spheres – he is described as a seasoned business leader with a proven track record of scaling fast-growth data, analytics and technology businesses.

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Prior to joining the American financial giant, he was managing director for risk, regulatory and compliance solutions at IHS Markit, having spent eight years at Goldman Sachs and started his career as a management consultant with Deloitte.

He takes over with immediate effect from founder John Dobson, who launched the business in 2011. He becomes a non-executive director.

Mr Harrison said: “SmartSearch has already delivered impressive growth, and I’m very much looking forward to working with the team to lead the business towards even greater success. Fraud and money laundering attempts have risen considerably since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic increasing the need for regulated businesses to have effective anti-money laundering technology. SmartSearch’s state-of-the-art technology is perfectly positioned to meet this need by accurately identifying and verifying customers in just two seconds.”

SmartSearch achieved record results in 2021, with a 22 per cent increase in business. Staff numbers increased from 117 to 168. This was driven by demand for its industry-leading online ID verification and due diligence platform. The company has received many industry awards, including a Queen’s Award for Enterprise, and currently operates in the UK, the US and Europe. It was recently chosen to provide customer verification by Alto, a part of Zoopla, which provides cloud-based software for estate agents.

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The SmartSearch system carries out identity checks using a combination of credit reference data and trusted public sources, which makes it virtually impossible for someone to get away with using a fake identity.

Mr Dobson was one of the founders of credit management giant Callcredit, following which he set up SmartSearch. He said: “There is a clear and growing need for robust electronic verification to help counter money laundering and fraud. The strong growth we have achieved at SmartSearch over the past decade clearly indicates this need as paper documents can no longer be relied upon. It also gives an indication of our huge potential for further expansion.

“I feel a lot of pride in having led a worthy and successful business which will continue to grow and prosper with a very competent, energetic and innovative team remaining. I felt the time had come for my second retirement and I am very happy to handover the leadership to Guy, who I know has the experience and strategic vision to steer the business through the next expansion phase as it continues to become recognised as the default solution for AML verification, both in the UK and globally.”