10 Years and Counting—Thanks to the ACAMS Community!

We constantly hear people bemoan how quickly time passes on, and all too frequently we neglect to adequately reflect on progress. Well, as we approach the 10 year anniversary of ACAMS, the staff and I certainly want to thank the now more than 11,000 members for making our organization the global leader in AML. The past 10 years have challenged all of us but the AML community has worked diligently, in both the private and public sector, in a joint campaign against the financing of terrorism, drug cartels, white collar criminals and various forms of corruption. ACAMS members have provided us with advice and counsel on a vast array of topics, and we continue to count on you. Whether you have held positions on our Advisory Board, Chapters or Task Forces; been a trainer for our CAMS prep seminars, presented at our conferences, seminars or webinars; or provided your insight within the pages of ACAMS Today, we could not be effective without you.

We look forward to the next 10 years with equal excitement and anticipation.

A Decade of Expanding Obligations

One of ACAMS' biggest challenges has been to ensure that we stay current and relevant with your challenges. An AML official in 2011 needs to know, or at least be aware, of domestic and international laws, reports and guidance. The issues now are as disparate as sanctions, bribery, financial crime, drug trafficking and a whole host of frauds. Regulatory bodies are increasingly fearful of missing compliance violations, so formal criticisms are on the rise. The global response to the economic crisis (in 2008 and now) has added major new non-AML obligations that will surely impact resource decisions. Finally, the creativity of money launderers knows no bounds so new products become vulnerable to illegal use.

All of these changes weigh heavily on the AML community so enhanced and flexible tools are at a premium.

ACAMS will be expanding our offerings to help you stay on top these changes.

ACAMS Responds

This year, specialized topics such as human trafficking, have been popular with our members who are hungry to get as much information as possible on how to address this horrific crime. Our webinars and web page on the issue have reached close to 5,000 participants. ACAMS also spearheaded the creation of a Human Trafficking Task Force, co-chaired by members representing the private and public sectors.

We recognize the tremendous value of the law enforcement community to ACAMS and dedicated the entire March–May 2011 issue of ACAMS Today to those heroic men and women. We also started information sharing meetings that alert both sides to emerging risks and possible responses.

The importance of AML audits led us to offer a highly successful webinar (more than 7,000 participants) by partnering with several international audit organizations. ACAMS, as of the writing of this column, is also working toward the creation of advanced training and credentials for those in the AML audit community, the first of many such expansive offerings.

Recognizing the many industries, in addition to traditional banking, that need AML expertise has led ACAMS to both provide relevant programming and create task forces for securities, insurance and money services businesses. In addition, we plan to revise or develop task forces in sanctions, technology and financial intelligence units. Go to www.acams.org for more information on those groups and send us your ideas for additional task forces.

The growth of ACAMS chapters has also been a major goal of the organization, and in the past year we have been able to engage more members in ACAMS through our chapters. We have increased from six chapters in 2009 to 17 and counting as of mid-2011. Chapters spread the word about ACAMS and are vehicles for enhancing networking opportunities throughout the year. Thanks to all chapter members for your continued support.

ACAMS Today—The Last Word in AML Expertise

Finally, we could not be prouder of this publication as we start the next ten years. Karla Monterrosa-Yancey, our Editor-in-Chief, has done a tremendous job of identifying authors, ensuring a diversity of topics and providing the ACAMS community with relevancy and timeliness. As we move to offering an online version of this publication, the opportunities to provide AML and related professionals with the resources they need to retain their expertise will be limitless.

Together, ACAMS' staff and its members will tackle the next ten years with continued dedication and commitment.

John J. Byrne, CAMS,
Executive Vice President

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