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In order to combat financial crime, banks, credit unions and various other financial institutions around the world are required to develop and implement anti-money laundering (AML) compliance programs. .
A financial institution’s anti-money laundering policy should be part of its broader compliance regime and designed to meet the requirements of its legislative environment. However, given the complexity of anti-money laundering laws, designing an effective program can be challenging. The fight against money laundering is an ongoing process: the United States Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) has been modified by a whole series of subsequent laws (including the USA Patriot Act), while the EU introduced its fourth anti-money laundering directive in 2017.
With this in mind, all financial institutions should have a clear understanding of what an anti-money laundering compliance program should accomplish.
What should an anti-money laundering program do?
In practice, an AML compliance program should enable an institution to detect suspicious activities associated with money laundering, including tax evasion, fraud, and terrorist financing, and to report them to the competent authorities. An anti-money laundering compliance program should focus not only on the effectiveness of the internal systems and controls in place to detect money laundering, but also on the risk posed by the activities clients and customers with whom an institution does business.
An anti-money laundering program should be based on a solid understanding of the regulations and be overseen by personnel who are experienced and knowledgeable enough to create a climate of compliance at all levels of their organization.
Developing an anti-money laundering compliance program requires creating a set of policies and procedures that meet the unique needs of your organization. While various factors can affect the size and shape of your program, it should be built around a set of key criteria.
Risk assessment is one of the pillars of anti-money laundering compliance and is a crucial first step in building an effective program. No two institutions face the same set of anti-money laundering risks, and your program should consider factors like the products and services you offer, your clients and clients, and your geographic location.
Your approach to anti-money laundering risk management should suit the particular needs of your business – ideally, your anti-money laundering program will avoid the administrative burden of compliance and potential legal risk of non-compliance. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to the challenges inherent in the financial landscape; each institution is expected to develop a solution tailored to its risk profile.
An anti-money laundering compliance program should focus on the internal controls and systems the institution uses to detect and report financial crimes. The program should include regular review of these controls to measure their effectiveness in meeting compliance standards.
Internal controls for anti-money laundering extend to an institution’s employees, who should be aware of their own roles and responsibilities within the system, how to exercise due diligence on business interests and how to navigate policies and procedures that ensure compliance on an ongoing basis.
An effective anti-money laundering compliance program should include a schedule of testing and independent verification by third-party organizations. Independent testing should be required every 12 to 18 months, although establishments that work in particularly high-risk sectors might consider a more frequent schedule than that. The third-party organization chosen to verify AML compliance must be qualified to perform a risk-based verification that is appropriate for your institution. In larger institutions, this verification may be carried out by an internal team independent of the AML and compliance departments.
Training on the fight against money laundering
Although every employee of a financial institution should have a working knowledge of anti-money laundering procedures, some employees will take on greater responsibility in implementing its compliance program. It may be appropriate for an institution to implement a basic level of training for all employees and add additional, targeted training for those with more specific anti-money laundering responsibilities. Therefore, when creating an audit and testing schedule, an anti-money laundering compliance program should ensure that these employees receive regular training and that
Various organizations offer AML compliance training programs for employees who need to update their knowledge and skills.
Anti-money laundering programs should appoint a designated chief compliance officer who is responsible for overseeing the general implementation of anti-money laundering policy within their institution. Anti-money laundering compliance officers should have sufficient experience and authority within their institution to ensure that they can perform their duties effectively. These functions include communicating with authorities and auditors, briefing senior management, and making anti-money laundering policy recommendations based on audits and reports.
It goes without saying that AML compliance officers should be experts in the legislative requirements of their local environment: in the United States, AML compliance is strongly focused on the Bank Secrecy Act , so compliance programs are overseen by a BSA Officer. Similarly, in the United Kingdom, oversight of anti-money laundering activitiesrests with the Money Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO), who reports to the National Crime Agency. In any event, a compliance officer’s expertise in anti-money laundering should extend beyond the regulatory process, to the details and methodologies of the financial crimes they are responsible for investigating. detect and report.
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Publié initialement 31 octobre 2019, mis à jour 06 octobre 2023
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