Chaos Leads to Change

A decade ago, ACAMS Today  published its first Law Enforcement (LE) edition. It has since become an annual edition dedicated to the many LE members and the financial crime prevention professionals who work together to bring the “bad guys” to justice. Much has changed since the first publication.

Human beings inherently fight change. We find comfort in the well-scheduled day, tranquility in the routine. We give new parents child-raising advice, such as children need structure. Episodic TV shows have a fundamental structure of resetting to the status quo at the end of episodes, so that from one episode to the next no real change occurs. While we fight against it, the one constant is change. One of the greatest forces for change is chaos. Chaos is the literal disruption of our well-structured and well-conceived normalcy. The worldwide events surrounding COVID-19 stand as testament to this. We are all dealing with vast changes to our patterns of work, relationships and behaviors. What remains to be seen is how much of this chaos is a mere disruption and how much leads to lasting change.

Financial crime prevention professionals know better than most that change happens. Plans and strategies are formulated, but inherent to these plans and strategies is the idea of adaptability. The criminal element shifts patterns, creating new conditions for which legislatures and regulators propose new laws, and the outcomes cause financial crime prevention professionals to modify plans. In some ways all anti-money laundering (AML) policies are built on foundations of sand, requiring constant maintenance against the winds of change.

A more optimistic viewpoint is that our industry is well-prepared to take advantage of the chaotic forces in the world. We have long experience in adaptability. It is this characteristic that will serve us well over the next year to 18 months as these COVID-19-induced changes resolve themselves into permancence.

Some of this adaptability has been chronicled over the last 10 years in our Annual Law Enforcement edition of the ACAMS Today. One of the significant changes has been the increase in public-private partnerships—in both quantity and importance. There have also been changes in emerging new technologies, newly formed sectors such as fintech, regtech, cryptocurrency, cybercrime, and many other ways in which criminals find—and are still finding—ways to hide their illicit gains. This edition is a decade celebration of what we have accomplished as a community, what we hope to continue to accomplish and what more can be done as we continuously increase the partnerships that exist between LE and financial institutions.

Articles in this celebratory edition range from interviews with key stakeholders in the industry discussing their thoughts on the future and looking back at what has happened and changed in the last decade. Leading us to our second headline article appropriately titled “Your SARs Matter.” In addition, we are launching a new section titled Staff Notes, where you can read updates from ACAMS’ staff members across the globe. I hope you will take the time to make additional discoveries in this special anniversary edition such as what it takes to transition from the public to the private sector in the article “From Badge to Banker.” Other thought-provoking articles include “The Building Blocks of an Effective Public-Private Partnership,” “Your AMLRx for COVID-19,” “Coaches and Mentors,” and much more.

Even though we are all dealing with chaotic times and know very well that change is inevitable, together as a financial crime prevention community, we can overcome these challenges and adapt to the ever-changing environment in which we live.

I hope you are all healthy, safe and well.

Karla Monterrosa-Yancey, CAMS

Follow us on Twitter: @acamstoday

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