I just returned from my college reunion (no, I won't say which year) and it is at times like these that I am reminded how fortunate we all are to be in the anti-money laundering (AML) community. Explaining to others what field you are in can be daunting, because some are so quick to judge, but I am constantly pleased at the interest we get from others for the work we have chosen — or in some cases were thrust into by happenstance.
People seem genuinely interested in a profession where the goal is to deter, detect and report money laundering — a crime we all know is connected to a vast array of criminal activity. While we sometimes struggle with compliance and legal obligations, there is no denying that the three parts of AML: Law enforcement, regulators and the private sector are all committed to the same goal. As we head toward the ACAMS 12th Annual AML and Financial Crime Conference, it is a good time to reflect on the good work of our community and to be proud of our successes. ACAMS is honored to represent all facets of this august group.
Risk assessment — A new offering to our members
Since this edition has extensive coverage of the risk assessment challenges for financial institutions, I will just add that ACAMS has been diligently producing the ACAMS Risk Assessment tool with a committee of experts since December 2011 and we will be releasing the product following the Vegas conference. We are very excited at the opportunity to create clear AML community standards and enhance the financial sector's ability to risk rank, add appropriate controls and provide regulatory transparency on risk assessment methodologies.
ACAMS continues to address the global AML/Financial Crime community
Hopefully you follow the progress of your association and all of our members through your local chapter, the web sites and mobile applications we offer. As you do, you will quickly realize that while all of the ACAMS staff works as a team, ACAMS has staff dedicated to different regions of the world so the membership has a "go to" liaison for all jurisdictions. In addition to Hue Dang, the long time head of Asia, ACAMS has been fortunate in the past year to expand its staff responsible for the various regions to include Grahame White as head of Europe, Jose Lewis as head of Africa and the Middle East, Sonia Leon as head of Latin America, Denise Enriquez as head of Caribbean and we have always had David Kehr as our key contact with law enforcement in North America and elsewhere. I urge you to find out who your main contact is and to take advantage of them as a resource.
There is no question that ACAMS is THE global organization dedicated to AML/Financial Crime professionals in both the private and public sectors. We are here and the leading organization because of you — our members!
Conference season is a great time for delegates to share information with peers and offer recommendations on how to stay informed. The more traditional methods are encountered during networking at the conference, at sessions designed for information sharing and speaking one-on-one with other attendees. As many conference organizers always stress — leave with contacts, business cards and some questions answered or your attendance is not complete.
The past several years have seen the growth of technologies that enhance information sharing. Whether it is immediate response mobile phone (or other application) surveys, Twitter or the many other forms of social media, the opportunities for information compilation appear limitless. ACAMS has three Twitter feeds at this point with more to be added. Please let us know what else we can do to continue to keep you informed and follow me (@jbacams2011), Kieran Beer (@KieranBeer) and ACAMS (@ACAMS_AML) on Twitter or Facebook (Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists) or the various ACAMS chapter channels.
There is no excuse for not connecting in 2013!
John J. Byrne, CAMS
executive vice president