ACAMS Today spoke with Professor Alexander Dill about Chicago-Kent College of Law’s online certificate program in Financial Markets Compliance, the benefits of the program and who would benefit most from the program.
Professor Dill is a recognized expert on the financial markets and the regulatory and compliance frameworks that apply to them. He is the director of the Financial Markets Compliance Online (FMC) Program in the Institute for Compliance in Financial Markets, and Clearing Corporation Charitable Foundation Practitioner in Residence at the IIT-Chicago-Kent College of Law. Previous to his association with the Institute, Professor Dill was global head of Covenant Research in the Corporate Finance Group at Moody’s Investors Service. Also while at Moody’s, he helped inaugurate its ratings compliance function in 2003.
ACAMS Today: Chicago-Kent College of Law offers a certificate in Financial Markets Compliance. Can you tell us about the program?
Alexander Dill: The FMC Program’s first two courses cover foundational concepts in financial regulation, financial markets, and business law. The remaining four courses then focus on compliance issues and best practices in the primary areas of utmost concern to professionals in financial institution compliance. I’ll give some more details. The program consists of the following six courses: (1) Regulatory Structure, Business Entities, and Corporate Governance; (2) Global Financial Markets and Market Regulation; (3) Compliance in Financial Institutions; (4) Insider Trading; (5) Investigating Fraud and Cooperating with Government Investigations; and (6) Cybersecurity, Money Laundering, and Technology. Each course lasts for one month and is further divided in four weekly units, each of which covers a specific area relating to the subject matter of the course. Each week students are required to post comments to a discussion forum and turn in one written assignment relating to that week’s topic.
AT: How long is the online program?
AD: The program lasts for seven months.
AT: You mentioned the six courses offered in the program, could you share more details about the cybersecurity, money laundering and technology course?
AD: This course provides students with a sound understanding of information technology (IT) compliance in financial institutions, identification of cyber risks, and best practices and regulatory requirements for cybersecurity compliance and compliance with the anti-money laundering (AML) laws. Like the other five course, the first unit of this course introduces students to foundational concepts. The course begins with an overview of IT compliance and IT security, risk assessment, and testing. As you know, familiarity with a financial institution’s IT infrastructure is highly relevant for an AML professional, since IT systems and software play a critical role in AML compliance. The course covers various types of cyber risks faced by financial institutions and the role of management, compliance, and IT experts in addressing these risks. The course gives an overview of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) and related AML laws and examines how an organization can monitor, maintain, and report IT compliance, both internally to the board of directors and externally to regulators. Real-world examples help students to understand the unique issues of IT compliance and how an organization can determine whether its IT function is following best practices and is in compliance with required internal policies and procedures and external laws and regulatory requirements.
AT: Who would benefit the most from your program?
AD: The program is geared toward three categories of students. The first group includes students, such as college or law school graduates, who are just embarking on a professional career and who are interested in learning about financial markets regulation and compliance. In addition, they may want to credential themselves for a career in this area. The second group includes seasoned professionals, such as lawyers and auditors, who want to transition to a career in financial markets compliance. The third group consists of beginning and mid-level compliance professionals who want to enhance their understanding of the regulatory framework governing the financial markets and their competency in compliance best practices in financial institutions.
AT: What makes this program special?
AD: Simply put, it’s a unique combination of theory and practice. It gives graduates a sound understanding of the mechanics of the financial markets, the regulatory framework and laws that apply to them, and the practical knowledge of how to think through a compliance issue in order to meet regulatory expectations in selected core compliance areas. The program was developed by Chicago-Kent College of Law, nationally renowned for combining a scholarly and pragmatic approach to professional education.
AT: How would AML professionals benefit from the certificate program?
AD: The FMC program would help to round out an AML compliance professional’s training. The first two courses provide a grounding in the principles of corporate governance, such as a board of directors’ fiduciary obligations in overseeing a compliance program, and the regulatory framework governing the financial markets. The four other courses would enhance an AML professionals’ understanding of compliance best practices involving internal investigations and how to interact with the government in its investigations, insider trading regulation, preparing for an audit, and, as discussed, IT systems and compliance. As such, the program could be an effective supplement to AML-specific training such as ACAMS’ certificate program.
AT: When does the next course begin?
AD: February 13. The next course after that starts May 22.
AT: Can you share an example of someone who has completed the course and how it has helped their career?
AD: One of our first graduates works in the treasury department of her company. She researched online programs and found that Chicago-Kent’s program best met her needs. She had been spending more time on financial and regulatory compliance matters due to the global nature of her job. Banking regulations have increased and the treasurer department must be well versed in these changes in order to manage the potential liability exposure of the company.
AT: How would someone interested in the FMC program learn more about it?