Since its start as a newsletter, ACAMS Today has grown vastly, publishing six magazine editions a year in six languages; in addition to publishing articles exclusively on ACAMSToday.org and two biweekly newsletters in two languages: ACAMS Connection and ACAMS Conexión. Keeping with its 20th-anniversary celebration, ACAMS Today asked 20 contributors to look back on and share their favorite ACAMS Today magazine cover and its significance to them from the last two decades. Their thoughts are on the following pages.
Bryan Chapman, CAMS
The ACAMS Today cover that has the most significance to me would be the December 2020–February 2021 issue, featuring the article “Shake, Bake, and Launder.” This issue announced that the ACAMS Pittsburgh Chapter won the ACAMS Chapter of the Year Award. It was a great privilege to be part of a board with talented anti-money laundering (AML) professionals and a member of a wonderful chapter community. This award combines all their hard work.
Paul Camacho, CAMS
I am biased, but my favorite cover is the September–November 2019 issue that features the headline article “Birth of OFAC.” So much of AML professionals’ time is focused on sanction work, but few understand the history of how it all started. The cover symbolizes the existential threat during the war years and how sanctions played an integral role. It ties our work today with the past.
When choosing my favorite ACAMS Today cover, I thought, “I should choose the one that features my lovely face,” which is the December 2018–February 2019, featuring the article “Straight off the Award Floor.” However, as an AML professional, I must choose the June–August 2014 issue, The Fourth Law Enforcement edition featuring an Afghanistan story. AML is a revolving door and this is a reminder that AML issues/vulnerabilities will resurface. Here we are eight years later talking about potential AML concerns involving Afghanistan.
Tanya McCartney, CAMS
The cover for the June–August 2016 issue, featuring the article “Human Trafficking: Combating this complex crime,” was evocative because of the imagery. It clearly portrayed the elements of human trafficking while conjuring up strong feelings on the human element involved in this criminal activity. The elements of direct impact to individuals tied to the economic impact of human trafficking were strongly depicted. Importantly, the role of law enforcement in combating this scourge was also front and center.
Dennis Lormel, CAMS
ACAMS Today covers have always impressed me as being innovative and reflective of key articles featured in those specific editions. The one that stands out most to me was the March–May 2017 15th-anniversary cover. It presented a collage of previous covers for the last 15 years. They reminded me of the great content presented, diverse perspectives and outstanding thought leadership our members regularly contribute.
Cristina Fleckenstein, CAMS
Amidst the isolation and uncertainty felt by many of us during the pandemic, I could not stop thinking about the loneliness experienced by our elderly. Being the most vulnerable, our elderly have fallen prey to numerous COVID-19 scams as criminals seek to maximize profits from financial abuse. The June–August 2019 cover reminded me of the importance of preventing fraud by strengthening financial education among our elderly—hoping that there are no more victims of this appalling crime.
Juan Carlos Ariza
My favorite cover is the September–November 2015 issue, with a picture of a soccer ball featuring the headline article “The World Cup of Fraud,” in reference to the FIFA scandal. The irony of seeing a soccer ball—the symbol of the most popular sport in the world—linked to criminal activity confirmed that financial crime is everywhere, even within such a powerful and famous governing body like FIFA.
Liz Slim, CAMS
When I reflect on the many years of reading ACAMS Today, the one cover that always puts a smile on my face and stands out through the years is the September–November 2011 issue. This issue celebrated ACAMS’ 10th anniversary, and what stands out to me is the multitude of AML and financial crime professionals who have joined in the support to fight financial crime and terrorist financing. Many of the faces featured I recognize and they have continued to be supportive colleagues and friends over the years. ACAMS not only grew in members but is a wealth of resources for AML professionals. When I look at this cover, I am very proud to be part of the thousands of members who make up the ACAMS community.
Sarah Beth Felix, CAMS
The most memorable cover for me was the March–May 2019 issue, featuring the headline article “Flash to bang: Left of boom, right of boom.” Like any good story, it is an eye-catcher. But the material in the article outlined why financial institutions must be involved in fighting terrorist financing. The article touches on the push-pull of finding the needle in the haystack for institutions. It zeros in on the specific steps for identifying contextual risk indicators found in the fund’s flow. Overall, it is an encouraging article that provides practical steps for smaller institutions to implement in their attempt to be left of the boom.
John Byrne, CAMS
There are a series of ACAMS Today covers that resonate with me and, hopefully, the entire AML community. While I was executive vice president of ACAMS, I believed it was essential to dedicate an issue each year to law enforcement partners that work tirelessly on money laundering, terrorism and all facets of financial crime. Under my watch, the AT editorial team and I started the Law Enforcement edition. Ensuring that each year there would be an edition dedicated to this important community.
Aub Chapman, CAMS-Audit
Over the years, most ACAMS Today covers have grabbed my attention, but none more than the June–August 2016 issue cover. The dramatic images starkly highlighted the real-world issues around human trafficking/modern slavery—a crime that continues to cause major social and economic harm in all regions of the world. As an anti-money laundering/counter-terrorist financing (AML/CTF) practitioner, I was immediately reminded that this was something we—within the financial services sector—can and must play a key role in combating this heinous crime.
Patricia Kordesch, CAMS
The March–May 2013 cover perfectly embraces key features of our profession and remains relevant today, as detailed below.
- Perspective: The CAMS designation is a distinct career path with the potential to reach the top.
- Objective: The issue illuminated the dark secrets around financial crimes.
- Success factors: The cover encompassed success factors such as professionalism (symbol outfit), ACAMS community (keyword) and female leadership attributes.
- Reality check: Money laundering risk management has a steep learning curve, which at times is a lonely fight and in a way, never-ending.
My favorite ACAMS Today cover is the September–November 2017 issue cover. This cover demonstrated money laundering through arts and antiquities but also had a larger message of the pervasive nature of fraud and money laundering in society. It skillfully showed the reader the ease with which money laundering and fraud are committed and how important it is to protect the very fabric of our societies. Lastly, the simplicity of the cover was so well done!
Gregory Dellas, CAMS-Audit, CGSS, CAMS-RM, CKYCA, CTMA, CAFCA
My favorite and most impactful ACAMS Today cover would be the June–August 2016 issue. I personally think that human trafficking might be the worst of all crimes, especially the trafficking of children for sexual purposes. Being a father of three, I was touched by the cover on so many levels. A concerted effort toward putting an end to crimes like this one makes me even more passionate about fighting financial crime.
Sandra Edun-Walter, CAMS
The cover from the March–April 2009 issue is an accurate reflection of the role of an AML professional. We have to deal with issues that no one else has the time or desire to focus on. When in doubt, send it to the AML team! Over time, we have shifted from being a clean-up crew to keeping it clean crew. Just as with the pandemic, organizations understand the importance of being clean.
Mario Enrique Aguilar-Nino, CAMS
I perfectly recall reading the article from the January–February 2008 issue cover back in 2008, in the earlier stages of the transaction monitoring implementation for important applications like Mantas. I recall discussing thresholds and scenarios. It was indeed a global (and expensive) affair. I believe Citigroup was very much on top.
Toms Platacis, CAMS
The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) Latvia strongly believes that “a chain is as strong as the weakest link,” as shown on the cover of the June–August 2012 issue. Therefore, benefits from strong partnerships are highly appreciated. FIU Latvia leads a successful private-public partnership initiative, which allows that a compliance officer at a bank, an analyst at the FIU, a police investigator, a supervisory regulator and a prosecutor—all “speak the same language.” They must all be competent and adequately resourced for the fight against money laundering to be effective.
Delena D. Spann
The December 2020–February 2021 issue cover is by far one of my favorite ACAMS Today covers, and it is impactful to me because it reminds me of the three stages of money laundering (placement, layering and integration) with an everyday “food” twist. Money laundering is an indispensable, ever-present element of all financial crimes, not to mention that one of the best articles I have written, “The Shadowy World of Illicit Finance” is featured in this publication.
Prosper Simbarashe Maguchu, CAMS
The June–August 2011 issue featuring Bouvet Island—the most remote island on earth—changed my worldview. The island eluded the efforts of even Captain Cook to find it, leaving him with a conclusion that Bouvet was just an iceberg. In my other world as a human rights lawyer, I was grappling with money laundering, which is just the tip of an iceberg in the link between financial crimes and human rights.
Muhammad Rizwan Khan, CAMS-FCI, CGSS, CKYCA, CTMA
My favorite ACAMS Today cover is the September–November 2021 issue cover. It was impactful to me because of the wonderful article “Reflections of 9/11” by ACAMS Today Editor-in-Chief Karla Monterrosa-Yancey. It summarized the last 20 years of the AML/CTF revolution magnificently. It also highlighted the scope of international standards on the USA PATRIOT Act for facilitating the process of detecting and deterring terrorist financing. It also covered the role of law enforcement and challenges arising from cybercriminals and digital technologies for AML/CTF.