A Filtering Process

In a podcast I was listening to the other day the presenters were discussing social media. They agreed that when they look at social media they feel as if they need to always do more to keep up with everyone else. To state the obvious, social media has power. While I was contemplating this discussion, I began thinking about how we all instinctually realize this as we upload to social media. We all present a carefully crafted version of ourselves and our experiences via a cornucopia of tools, especially filters, to enhance ourselves and our pictures. Even when we are live and streaming from our social media platforms, we use filters and lighting to ensure we are being viewed in the “correct” way by our followers and potential followers. The idea of putting our cultivated selves on display and the use of filters really hit home as we were preparing the latest edition of ACAMS Today. As I read our lead story, “Filtering High-Risk Customers—No Technology Required,” a sentence written by the author jumped out from my computer screen (where I currently use a filter to help ease my daily eye strain). The author states:

“Ask any customer-facing bank associate about a customer and chances are the response will be universal—‛They’re a good customer.’ But even good customers present a certain level of money laundering risk. The art of the AML profession is being able to determine which of those ‘good’ customers present the highest level of risk to the institution accurately. It all starts with knowing your customer.”

The “good customer” mirrors someone posting on social media―they have a carefully prepared persona they present to the financial institution. Part of establishing a strong know your customer (KYC) program involves the financial crime prevention professional’s ability to pierce through the filter of their customers and apply their compliance programs’ policies to determine which customers pose the highest threat. In other words, a financial crime prevention professional needs to be able to look past customers’ “filters” to determine when a high-risk customer is presenting themselves as “a low-risk customer.” A strong KYC program will utilize many filters and tools to weed out those high-risk customers from the truly “low-risk” customers.

This issue also highlights the diverse challenges facing financial crime prevention professionals, including the second headline article, “Combating Two Evils With the Same Tools,” which describes how applying counterterrorism laws may help curtail the profitability of human trafficking. Adding to the lineup are articles on the insurance industry, suspicious activity from fund companies, 50 years of the Bank Secrecy Act, a suspicious activity report analysis of the U.K. online gaming sector, potential risks of crypto remittances in the Philippines, illegal wildlife trade and ACAMS chapter events covering topics like COVID-19.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate our ACAMS Today Article of the Year 2020 recipients. Congratulations to William Cloninger, CAMS; Pawneet Abramowski; Pamela Calaquian, CAMS; Alek El-Kamhawy; William Casey King; Zachary Robock and William Voorhees, CAMS!

Globally, 2020 has presented itself as a challenging year. I hope we will all take the time to filter through the chaos of this year and look for the good in humankind.

Karla Monterrosa-Yancey, CAMS
Follow us on Twitter: @acamstoday

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