Results Unveiled: Thomson Reuters/ACAMS Anti-Money Laundering Insights and Trends Survey

Topics: Access to Justice, Client Relations, Corporate Legal, Financial Crime, Financial Fraud & Anti-Money Laundering, Fraud, Government, Risk Management


LAS VEGAS — The top regulatory challenge for financial institutions is the Customer Due Diligence (CDD) Rule. While virtual currencies are increasingly on the minds of compliance officers and Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) officers, both in the C-suite and on the front lines. And geographic footprint is playing an even bigger role in Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD).

These observations are just a snapshot of some of the key findings coming out of the annual Thomson Reuters/Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS) Anti-Money Laundering Regulatory Survey, unveiled in part at the ACAMS 17th Annual AML and Financial Crime Conference earlier this month.

What did the survey show? Financial organizations are spending more resources and time addressing new requirement and adding staff and enhanced technologies as the result of shifting regulatory compliance requirements.

All of this is happening, with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s CDD Rule looming in the background. It is not a rule to be ignored and it is one that financial institutions are taking seriously.

What is the Survey About?

The new survey focuses on compliance trends in the financial sector. Three months after the implementation of the CDD Rule in May, Thomson Reuters partnered with ACAMS to learn what anti-money laundering (AML) industry leaders were thinking. The survey relates to compliance processes and activities in response to (AML) regulations and associated CDD and Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements.

More than 250 respondents who are considered “decision makers” in their organizations related to AML and CDD compliance activities answered the survey. These are individuals who live and breathe these processes, challenges, and victories on a daily basis.

Survey Objectives

The participants, drawn from ACAMS members, answered questions related to a broad range of measures to track trends among companies in the financial sector, including:

  • CDD and AML processes;
  • Ultimate Beneficial Ownership (UBO) compliance;
  • EDD;
  • Data solutions;
  • Budget and staffing; and
  • Challenges and trends.

Key Takeaways

Not surprisingly, 54% of organizations reported training for existing staff is one of their highest priorities for their AML and CDD compliance program over the next 12 months. That is an astounding a 10% jump from 2017.

“Investing in staff training to manage workloads and build expertise among current staff, as well as hiring additional staff to fill the growing AML investigation needs to keep up with CDD Rule compliance” is a key area of respondents’ focus, according to the survey.

A few other takeaways from the survey include:

  • Organizations have fine-tuned their typologies for alerts around CDD issues;
  • Organizations are striving to improve their response time to red flags with an eye toward addressing potential fraud and money laundering;
  • Regulatory enforcements seem to be a less common occurrence;
  • Personal civil and criminal liability concerns continue to grow, with 28% of respondents saying it is on their minds, particularly in light of the so-called “Yates Memorandum”; and
  • Top areas of interest, in addition to the CDD rule are CDD and UBO regulatory changes, as well as concerns over virtual currency, cryptocurrency and blockchain, and the Fourth EU AML directive.

Download the Survey Now

Click here to download your copy of the Thomson Reuters/Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS) Anti-Money Laundering Regulatory Survey.