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SmartSearch appoints new CEO to scale the business in its fight against global money laundering and fraud

SmartSearch appoints new CEO to scale the business in its fight against global money laundering and fraud

Industry powerhouse Phil Cotter joins the business, following the completion of a majority investment by Triple Private Equity.

SmartSearch, the UK’s leading provider of digital compliance and anti-money laundering (AML) solutions, today announces the appointment of Phil Cotter to the position of Chief Executive Officer.

This follows the completion of a majority investment by Triple Private Equity, as the business looks to continue their ambitious growth plans. Triple announced its intention to invest in March 2024. The transaction marks the first investment made by Triple’s inaugural Fund I, which is focused on investing in B2B mission-critical vertical software and data businesses headquartered in the UK and the Nordic Region.

Phil Cotter brings a wealth of compliance, risk, and leadership expertise to the role, having held senior positions at the London Stock Exchange Group, Refinitiv, Thomson Reuters, and Experian.

Following the decision of outgoing CEO, Guy Harrison, to move on to take on a new opportunity closer to home, Triple Private Equity took the opportunity to help SmartSearch accelerate the talent search by making the introduction. Phil has been working as an external advisor to Triple and has worked with Triple’s Founding Partner, Ben Shepherd, for several years prior. This association, combined with his years of leadership experience in the industry, made him the perfect candidate for the position.

Phil will work with the existing executive team, to drive sustained growth in the firm’s stronghold professional services markets, while also expanding its sales across all regulated sectors.  

Phil Cotter, CEO of SmartSearch, said: “SmartSearch is at the cutting edge in the digital compliance market, and it’s an incredibly exciting time to join this growing business. Organisations in regulated industries need to ensure they remain compliant in the markets within which they operate, while also keeping their customers safe from fraud and money laundering. These two challenges are intrinsically linked, and SmartSearch is perfectly positioned to help businesses rise to the challenge. I look forward to leading the organisation during this next period of growth.”

Martin Cheek, Co-Founder and Managing Director of SmartSearch, said: “SmartSearch was born to help protect people and businesses from money laundering and fraud. This remains at the heart of our business. Now, with this significant investment from Triple and the vast industry expertise Phil Cotter brings to the role, I look forward to making it even easier for our customers to stay compliant, while going even further to protect them from money laundering and fraud.”

Ben Shepherd, Founding Partner of Triple Private Equity, said: “SmartSearch’s market-leading product and services and exemplary approach to customers has made it a category leader in the UK with significant customer traction and led by a great team. It’s great to be able to work with Phil again, and he’s undoubtedly the right leader to take SmartSearch to the next stage of their growth.”

Outgoing CEO, Guy Harrison, departs the business which has delivered 20% annual growth between 2020 and 2023, to take up a new position with the respect and appreciation of the Board.

The majority investment has been funded from new capital committed to Triple Private Equity Fund I SCSp and Triple Solace Co-Invest SCSp, with SmartSearch founders and existing shareholders retaining minority stakes in the Company.

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