AML Experts Ring in the New Year

Happy New Year from ACAMS Today! ACAMS Today  asked a few anti-money laundering (AML) experts the following question:

From one AML professional to another, how do you establish a strong foundation to accomplish your 2019 goals?

Here is what they had to say:

Ed Beemer, CAMS-FCI, Principal, ComplianceComm

Anti-money laundering/counter-terrorist financing (AML/CTF) is as complex as chess. Anticipating the unanticipated is critical. Most AML professionals do well with gauging outside factors, but many forget or avoid internal risks. I recommend the following:

  • Enhance your internal risk assessment to look at factors that could negatively impact your team and program. This includes business environment and organizational health, budgets, personnel, technology updates, management support, team cooperation and morale.
  • Strengthen internal AML team communication to mitigate program risks.
  • Cross-train so that others fully understand the responsibilities and pressures of team members’ work.
  • Keep team members focused on assigned tasks. Cross-training does not mean unassigned lane jumping.

Hue Dang, CAMS-Audit, head of Asia, ACAMS

My 2019 goals, and in fact, my goal at the beginning of each new year is to assist in the fostering and building of the anti-money laundering/counter-terrorist financing/financial crimes compliance (AML/CTF/FCC) community by staying updated and at the forefront of recent regulatory and other developments in our industry. I keep updated with the following:

  • Regular alerts/updates from moneylaundering.com
  • Frequent reviews of articles from acamstoday.org and quarterly ACAMS Today
  • The Financial Action Task Force website (fatf-gafi.org)
  • The Asia/Pacific Group website (apgml.org)
  • Guidance as issued by regulators such as the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, Monetary Authority of Singapore, People’s Bank of China, Financial Intelligence Unit – India, Reserve Bank of India, etc.
  • Recent enforcement actions, which shed light on key lessons to be learned by the industry
  • Engagement with stakeholders at industry events—both ACAMS and non-ACAMS

Gary Hughes, barrister, Akarana Chambers and ACAMS Programme Director NZ

In New Zealand, our main summer vacation arrives at Christmas, so the end of the year is an ideal time to exit the office for some southern sunshine and downtime at the beach. The change of pace in financial crime fields can make it seem impossible to keep up with new legislative or regulatory requirements, technology benefits and banes, and evolving forms of laundering, scams and fraudulent devices.

It is even more important in this environment to strive for simplicity in your work and declutter your daily practices. I try to break larger goals—e.g., in 2018 I wrote my first textbook (on AML/CTF for the legal profession)—down into bite-sized chunks, enabling those scary first steps to be taken, then be adaptable, and re-evaluate as needed.

Marilu Jimenez, CAMS, founder, Financial Intelligence Network & Compliance Advisors

I recently left my corporate role of 18 years to start a consulting practice. All those years of experience have shown me that discipline and good organization are essential to your goals. For 2019, I encourage you to share my three principal goals. First, mentor women starting in this field. Expand your network by sharing best practices and educating your team. Second, maximize your effectiveness by prioritizing decisions and having a plan. Make your goals specific and realistic, with timelines associated with milestones. Third, it can sometimes be overwhelming, so your own well-being should always be a priority!

May 2019 be a great year for all!

Lauren Kohr, CAMS, SVP, chief risk officer & BSA officer, Old Dominion National Bank

Regardless of whether your goals are personal, professional or specific to your AML program, it is important to set aside time to clearly define what goals you intend to accomplish in 2019. Next, develop a mechanism to measure your success and hold yourself accountable. Personally, I have found establishing visual reminders and creating a consistent thought of my goals provided a strong foundation for success. For more challenging and aggressive goals, it is beneficial to find a great mentor. We are blessed in our close-knit community to have an abundance of incredible leaders, knowledge experts and passionate individuals willing to help others conquer their goals.

Dennis Lormel, CAMS, president, DML Associates, LLC

As an AML professional, entering 2019, the foundation I set to accomplish my goals for the coming year starts with assessing the year 2018 in review from an AML perspective. I balance the year in review by assessing current and emerging trends for the coming year. As an AML consultant, it is important for me to understand and assess crime problems; systemic money laundering and terrorist financing vulnerabilities; and regulatory and legislative considerations. This annual exercise enables me to stay engaged with relevant stakeholders and to develop updated guidance and educational material for my clients and industry peers.

Waheed Rathore, chief compliance officer, group risk management, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank

The coming times of digitalization will throw challenges in compliance risk management never experienced thus far and at unprecedented speed. In 2019, careful and measured application of innovative methods will be the right approach wherein the impact of each initiative is distinctly monitored and collectively analyzed. Compliance officers must therefore acquire advanced skills and qualifications in fintech and regtech in order to partner as enablers and leaders of change with business transformations.

Three ways AML professionals can thrive in 2019:

  1. Adopt an agile way of working
  2. Play a lead/driver/enable role in digitalization initiatives
  3. Obtain a fintech certification from a reputed university

Angela Salter, head of Europe, ACAMS

Building enduring relationships based on integrity and trust is my priority. So, whenever I am faced with a new challenge, I reach out to those whose knowledge and experience will provide invaluable perspective…many minds are better than one.

It’s what I love about our ACAMS community. Our members’ generosity of spirit, depth of experience and willingness to share their expertise makes my work—growing our chapter network and ensuring that anti-financial crime professionals throughout Europe have access to the right training and networking opportunities—a real pleasure. I look forward to meeting even more new faces in 2019.


We wish you success with your 2019 goals and hope that this year will be filled with both achievements and triumphs for financial crime prevention professionals worldwide.

ACAMS Today editorial staff, editor@acams.org
Follow us on Twitter: @acamstoday

Leave a Reply