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SmartSearch sees 50% headcount growth in just six months

SmartSearch sees 50% headcount growth in just six months

Leading anti-money laundering solution provider SmartSearch has recorded just over 50% growth in its team over the past six months, following a surge in demand for its online ID check and due diligence platform.

The multi-award winning RegTech specialist, based in Ilkley, West Yorkshire, says it recruited the equivalent of one new colleague every other day, across a range of different roles and divisions, during the first quarter of the year.

The business, which had its most successful year in 2020 passing the 5.000 client mark, and also opened its first international office in the USA, had gone from a head count of 100 in September 2020 to 154 by the end of March this year.

It has also contributed to the business being named as one of the fastest growing in Europe for the third year running.

SmartSearch managing director Martin Cheek said the recruitment drive was based on rising demand for its products and services, due in part to the increased threat of money laundering and financial crime that has arisen since the start of the global pandemic.

Cheek, one of the founders of the business in 2011, said: “What we’ve seen since the outbreak of coronavirus over a year ago, is a huge increase in the level of financial crime such as money laundering, based on the use of more sophisticated false IDs and documents.

“This has made businesses in regulated sectors realise that traditional methods of ID verification when taking on new customers, such as manually going through passports and driving licences, are no longer fit for purpose.

“At the same time, the Financial Conduct Authority has been clear not only in its message that non-compliance with due diligence will be punished, but also that electronic verification is more accurate and efficient.

“This has driven a surge in demand for SmartSearch’s digital solution which is able to verify an individual’s identity within two seconds, running a full ID check across multiple global databases, including sanctions and PEP lists.

“As a result, we have been on a significant recruitment drive for the team at our Ilkley headquarters where we have bolstered our sales team and our customer services team, which is at the heart of our business.

“It’s been a surge in growth for SmartSearch and we have a brilliant team here, to manage that, as more and more businesses realise the importance of switching to electronic verification to stay one step ahead of the money launderers and organised financial crime gangs.”

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Manual verification checks vs electronic verification - why make the switch?

Under anti-money laundering law, all regulated businesses in the UK - which includes financial institutions and those working in other at-risk sectors including legal, property and investment – and all financial institutions in the US, must complete due diligence on all new customers before they embark on a business relationship. 

This is a hugely important part of the customer onboarding process; firstly, it is a legal requirement and businesses that do not complete the proper checks can get fined, suspended or even face legal action, and secondly, money laundering is not only a crime in itself, but an enabler for more serious crime, including terrorism, drug and people trafficking and modern slavery. 

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