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Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliance has taken on even more challenges even in the face of new technology solutions to combat the problem. That’s because there’s now online and offline money laundering schemes to pursue and prevents with various regional and global issues that must now be addressed. Here are 10 top obstacles that AML compliance officers are addressing to combat money laundering:

Technology innovation gaps:

Many organizations are experiencing gaps in their technology. This is due to the significant investment and shifting money laundering techniques that require frequent innovation in technology to keep up with the crimes. Banks want to see the return on investment for investing in new technology or putting resources into developing innovative solutions. This has led to a gap in some organizations in available technology.

Lack of data integrity:

The availability of much more data has been useful in understanding patterns that can AML compliance professionals realize potential suspicious activity, But, it’s also created obstacles in terms of how to collect and analyze the data as well as how to identify if the data is accurate or complete. More banks are seeking ways to ensure their databases and information collection processes can be improved.

Greater pressure on compliance officers:

The compliance and regulatory environment is putting more responsibility on compliance officers to deliver on requirements. These requirements include more extensive reporting and coordination. There is heightened government interest about how AML compliance officers can handle growing individual liability for certain results or the lack thereof. Compliance officers are even being named in corporate settlements due to their handling of money laundering situations.

Talent shortage:

Whether it is for acquisition purposes or the ability to retain staff, there is a shortage in talent that specializes in AML compliance. There are few individuals that have the experience, knowledge, and skill to address the growing issues related to money laundering. Many open positions across the country illustrate the potential need of higher education to offer more classes  to fill demand.

Reduced resources:

Despite the increase in money laundering activity, many organizations are intent on meeting budgets so have trimmed the available resources, expecting compliance professionals to do more with less. However, these resources should be more in aligned with the organization’s available risk. Then, if there is a higher risk level, the budget could provide adequate resources. At Due, we recommend allocating the proper resources to protect your company.

Inconsistent training content and policies:

Those already in the field of AML also require more specific training and formal policies to help them be the most effective at identifying potential money laundering activity, especially when criminals are evolving their strategies and utilizing various types of technology to circumvent current tools used by AML professionals.

No independent authority:

Compliance officers often struggle with the ability to make independent decisions to handle certain AML issues. They don’t have direct communication with senior management or regulators. There is also a lack of access to data and personnel. Compliance officers cannot get rid of problematic customers, product offerings, or employees. However, clearly documented procedures would help AML compliance professionals handle matters directly.

No systems testing in place:

Unnecessary issues arise without the proper testing system for compliance systems. Often, AML compliance officers face untested systems. Therefore, they cannot ensure the systems align with current industry practices. These tests could also validate that all compliance systems have been document properly.

Lack of industry connection and contact:

Many AML compliance officers feel disconnected from their industry. They believe more meetings with regulators and external auditors could help. These officers also noted that they would like to participate in industry groups to learn about new compliance issues, tools and processes, and solutions. Lastly, conferring with independent outside counsel could help compliance officers get more assistance to handle any conflicts related to legal or business aspects.

Incentives for whistleblowers:

AML compliance officers are trying to get as much inside assistance as they can. If there are no incentives like rewards or the promise of protection for providing information, they cannot get help. Taking away this barrier could uncover more money laundering evidence to shut down more operations. But, the incentive has to be there for these insiders to share information.

Removing Barriers For AML Compliance Officers

Getting rid of these types of barriers can help AML compliance officers raise performance levels. Then, they can proactively stop online and offline  money laundering activity.


Peter Daisyme is the co-founder of Palo Alto, California-based Hostt, specializing in helping businesses with hosting their website for free, for life. Previously he was the co-founder of Pixloo, a company that helped people sell their homes online, that was acquired in 2012.

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