SmartSearch announces appointment of new CEO

SmartSearchthe leading anti-money laundering specialist, today announces the appointment of Guy Harrison as CEO.  Guy will drive SmartSearch’s strategic plan to build additional growth and will report to the company’s board of directors.

Guy is a seasoned business leader with a proven track record of scaling fast-growth data, analytics and technology businesses.  He joins from Dow Jones where he was general manager of Dow Jones Risk & Compliance, a market leading global provider of regulatory compliance and risk management solutions.  Whilst there, he headed the global business, delivering three years of highly successful growth. Prior to that he was managing director for Risk, Regulatory and Compliance Solutions at IHS Markit. Before joining IHS Markit, Guy spent eight years at Goldman Sachs and started his career as a management consultant with Deloitte.

He takes over with immediate effect from SmartSearch’s CEO and founder John Dobson, who launched the business in 2011. John will remain an active part of the company as a non-executive director.

SmartSearch achieved record results in 2021, with a 22% increase in business. 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 for its innovative work, 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.

Guy Harrison, CEO of SmartSearch, 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 AML 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.”

John 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 recognized as the default solution for AML verification, both in the UK and globally.”

Richard Law, chairman designate of SmartSearch, commented: “On behalf of the board and the team as SmartSearch I’d like to thank and congratulate John on his skill and dedication to building SmartSearch so effectively and on achieving the financial success the business has seen to date. I’m very pleased that the business has been able to attract Guy to join the business. His track record, experience and skills are a great fit for the ambitious next stage of SmartSearch’s development and growth.”

SmartSearch is based in Ilkley, West Yorkshire, and this year increased its team from 117 to 168 to cope with demand.

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.

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