We’re Going to Need a Bigger Toolbox—AML Professionals Expanding their Already Broad Horizons

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With apologies to the screenwriter of Jaws, it is clear that for any anti-money laundering (AML) professional to be effective in 2011, they must need to know considerably more than basic AML skills. Understanding and implementing reporting requirements and updating policies are fine but so much more is essential for regulatory review and general compliance. Your "toolbox" must consist of enhanced focus on sanctions, corruption, bribery, privacy, cybersecurity, business continuity, financial crime prevention and incident management. Fortunately for the ACAMS membership, our staff is hard at work, ensuring that these areas are being covered in this magazine, on www.acams.org, at our regional conferences, our seminars, online training, chapter learning events and within our task forces.

In order to provide the membership with access to these important areas, ACAMS is working with partners, either in providing joint programming, or with endorsements of resources that you will need to stay current with these ever increasing challenges. There is much more to come in this exciting area. Also, let me remind all of you to keep providing the staff and me with feedback on the topics that are so important to your agencies, institutions or firms.

ACAMS as a Clearinghouse, Forum and a Partner that Understands your Challenges

As the staff and membership head toward our tenth year anniversary — which will culminate at our Annual Conference in Las Vegas in September — we are extremely proud of how the membership has led the AML community through a plethora of challenges. There will be time to remember all of the trials and tribulations of the past decade, but the key has been the commitment to move forward and stay prepared.

ACAMS has acted as a resource for the AML professional with timely articles in this magazine, resources added to the web site and provided opportunity for information sharing in our forums, at our conferences and in our task forces and chapters. All of these avenues have given the community access to experts who have been the proverbial "canary in the mine" and led us to understand the expansion of issues that need to be tackled and understood by compliance officers, counsel, consultants and government representatives. How can you take advantage of these resources?

First, ACAMS Today is your magazine. While we have an Editorial Task Force, we are always seeking new authors and innovative approaches to AML. Offer us your suggestions and add to the library of choice for the global AML community.

Your web site is also an evolving resource that offers a wide variety of information that will improve your ability to stay current with government edicts, cases and best practices. As more ACAMS task forces and chapters develop strategies to assist the community, your web site will offer you the latest information.

Finally, I have been fortunate to have participated in hundreds of conferences and seminars throughout my career and the success of any of those programs is directly related to the input from the AML community. ACAMS believes in the need for inviting a cross-section of experts from inside and outside the government to help the staff craft the delivery of timely and relevant topics. When we come calling, please answer and give us the benefit of your expertise — the entire AML community will benefit from your work.

The theme: The more you offer, the more we all succeed.

Hot Topics—What will keep us busy during the remainder of 2011?

The ACAMS community continues to ask us to provide training that demands relevancy and is proactive. So, we expect a continued focus on bribery and corruption and the laws designed to address those activities such as the 1977 Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in the United States and the recent UK bribery law; sanctions requirements such as CISADA; tax evasion; cross-border transactional reporting; the impact of the Mexican currency laws on neighboring jurisdictions; and a keener understanding of how to address the AML vulnerabilities with new banking products and services. These and any other "surprises" will be addressed as they arise. You need to count on YOUR organization and you can.

The 2011 CAMS Examination—Much Ado About Something!

When I decided to make sure we were transparent about the CAMS examination review process, I was warned that we would be spending time addressing "inconveniences" to the membership. The inconvenience, of course, was that in order to ensure a sound, psychometrically tested exam, there needed to be "beta testing" period where applicants would not receive their exam results instantaneously. As a society, unfortunately everything is immediate so this "delay" frustrated some CAMS candidates. We did explain this process a number of times but, of course, some missed the message.

As we complete this important review process (that none of our so-called competitors have) I want the membership to know that this process is essential to quality assurance so that employers and recruiters know that successful candidates have truly mastered their AML knowledge.

Many thanks to the many volunteers who assisted us with this process and special thanks to ACAMS staffer Kata Martinez who led this effort with extreme diligence and professionalism.

We are proud of our CAMS revision process and you should be too.

John J. Byrne, CAMS
executive vice president

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