The ACAMS Cyprus Chapter recently celebrated its third birthday at a great venue in Nicosia! The special networking event hosted a number of members, regulators, law enforcement, as well as friends and supporters of the chapter.
The chapter was formed in November 2015 by a group of anti-money laundering (AML) and compliance enthusiasts with the support of ACAMS. The aim was to provide a platform for AML and compliance professionals in Cyprus to network, exchange ideas and enhance their knowledge. At the time, Cyprus was in the spotlight concerning the effectiveness of its AML regulatory framework and the CAMS qualification was not widely known on the island. After three years, the CAMS qualification has become recognised as the gold standard in AML certifications amongst compliance professionals, employers and recruiters in Cyprus. It now serves as proof of someone’s deep knowledge and expertise in practical AML. Accordingly, every year a number of anti-financial crime (AFC) professionals register to obtain their certification.
The ACAMS Cyprus Chapter board is comprised of experienced AFC practitioners and AML compliance trainers who enjoy voluntarily organising learning and networking events for the members of the chapter and the wider AFC community of Cyprus. Dellas is the founding member and chair of the ACAMS Cyprus Chapter since its launch in 2015. Gregory Dellas was also June 2017’s ACAMS AML Professional of the Month. He currently works in the first line of defence as the director of wealth and markets for the Bank of Cyprus. With extensive experience in AML compliance—having been CAMS certified and as a certified CAMS instructor—Dellas understands the importance of continuous learning in order to practically, efficiently and effectively combat financial crime. Dellas said the following of the Cyprus Chapter:
“The ACAMS Cyprus Chapter is one of a kind in Cyprus. It is unique in that it offers free exciting learning and networking events to its members, multiple times a year. The events touch upon all current and future concerns of today’s AML professionals and compliance enthusiasts and the events are also open to the wider community to register and attend. Our events have attracted participants from Cyprus and beyond, including regulators and law enforcement. During the last few years, Cyprus underwent a huge transformation regarding the implementation of an enhanced AML regulatory framework. We want to believe that we also played our part, through our activities.”
Now entering its fourth year, the ACAMS Cyprus Chapter can proudly look back at the long list of successful events it has hosted on topics such as countering terrorist financing, correspondent banking, cybercrime, cryptocurrency and blockchain, international sanctions, politically exposed persons and their associates, General Data Protection Regulation and AML and many more. ACAMS Cyprus Chapter events have attracted a number of international speakers and experts who are willing to share their thoughts and expertise with the participants. The events always attract more than 100 AFC professionals from various industries, as well as representatives from a number of regulatory bodies.
At the latest event in early February 2019, ahead of the Anti-Financial Symposium—Cyprus, the Cyprus Chapter was proud to welcome international expert Samantha Sheen, founder and managing director of Ex Ante Advisory Limited. Sheen discussed the vulnerabilities of international financial centres around the world using the case of 1MDB as a practical example. She discussed the misuse of complex structures, financial crime through complex webs of transactions and provided valuable advice to compliance professionals in order to avoid such mistakes in the future.
In March 2019, the Cyprus Chapter organised yet another exciting event on risk-based due diligence and transaction monitoring with Jamilia Parry, managing director of FTI Consulting. The event was attended by over 120 compliance professionals from Cyprus and overseas. A number of more exciting events are also in the works.