Silas Bartels: Providing Timely AFC Analysis

Silas Bartels: Providing timely AFC analysis

Silas Bartels is the legal editor of ACAMS He manages a team of two attorneys that contribute to the publication’s coverage of financial crime, sanctions and compliance-related issues. Complementing the breaking news and in-depth coverage of the talented reporters at ACAMS, his team provides timely analysis of enforcement actions, prosecutions and legislative and regulatory initiatives as they commence. His work also supports the AFC Bulletin, an ACAMS Enterprise premium resource that provides detailed analysis of regulatory and enforcement actions quarterly. Bartels joined ACAMS in 2014 as a part-time legal writer based in the New York office. This position built on his previous experience with the legal team of an international nongovernmental organization (NGO) and his academic writing on counterterrorism. He began his current role in September 2021. Bartels was born and raised in Santa Fe, New Mexico, before moving to upstate New York. A competitive academic intensive study and professional internship program brought Bartels to Manhattan in January 2013, and he now resides in Brooklyn.

ACAMS Today (AT): Describe what an average workday entails for you at ACAMS

Silas Bartels (SB): Close collaboration between my team of attorneys and the talented reporters at ACAMS underpins our crucial work. Our standard day begins by exchanging important information, including regulatory and law enforcement developments. My team then analyzes, summarizes and publishes regulatory documents to complement the hard-hitting reporting of the news team. In addition, we often collaborate on initiatives or projects with colleagues from other departments at ACAMS.

AT: What are some aspects of ACAMS that may not be well known to most people?

SB: In addition to ACAMS being the top source for news on financial crime, sanctions and compliance-related issues, the website has a range of useful functions for subscribers. I highly encourage members to sign up for our email alerts on breaking news items and the weekly wrap-up newsletters that cover a range of topics. ACAMS subscribers can also create custom email alerts to receive specific industry developments as they occur.

AT: In the past five years, which enforcement action has significantly impacted the anti-financial crime (AFC) industry?

SB: While it is challenging to choose one, I believe that the combined penalties of approximately $2.3 billion against Denmark’s Danske Bank1 in December 2022 demonstrated a robust regulatory response against a foreign financial institution for deceiving U.S. correspondent banks. The actions by U.S. agencies marked the culmination of a yearslong regulatory response from supervisors across the globe. I think it is also fascinating to see a renewed regulatory focus on the cryptocurrency market due to the collapse of FTX and others last year.

AT: What AFC topics are you most passionate about and why?

SB: During my time at ACAMS, I have felt myself resonating with concerns that overly robust AFC and sanctions compliance measures may impede the flow of legitimate humanitarian aid to areas that most need it. I am pleased to see some progress in codifying humanitarian exemptions to sanctions last year, as well as recent revisions by the Financial Action Task Force to encourage risk-based and proportionate measures. I welcome the important work of my colleagues at ACAMS to promote best practices in AFC that promote financial inclusion and avoid unnecessary de-risking.

AT: Which aspect of your job do you most enjoy?

SB: I am very proud of the exceptional journalism of my colleagues at ACAMS, which includes frequent scoops and exclusive news items. It is extremely rewarding to support that work and other premium resources for ACAMS Enterprise members, such as the quarterly AFC Bulletins.

AT: What do you like to do in your spare time?

SB: When I have the time, I enjoy performances, street festivals and other events that occur here in New York all year round. My passion for cycling has also evolved from being a nice way to get out of the apartment during the COVID-19 pandemic to regularly participating in 50- to 100-mile events.

Interviewed by ACAMS Today editorial, ACAMS,

  1. “Danske Bank Admits US Bank Fraud Conspiracy,” ACAMS, December 13, 2022,

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