Skilled Staff is Key to Effective AML Compliance

Finding experienced staff is the most important factor for effective anti-money laundering (AML) compliance, a new report has found. According to PwC’s EMEA AML Survey 2024, 28% of respondents indicated that highly qualified people are the most effective AML control. Without experienced staff, carrying out day-to-day processes and updating technologies and AML methodologies would be extremely difficult and may not provide the right output and quality, respondents believed. PwC’s ‘AML Survey 2024: Spotlight on Effectiveness’ report looks at how the financial sector in Europe, the Middle East and Africa is approaching AML compliance.

The study is based on a survey of 396 banks, asset managers and payment institutions in 40 countries, which was conducted to establish their opinions on the regulatory environment and find out how the financial sector is incorporating technology into its AML response.

The survey found that despite a growing focus on technology, the human factor still plays a crucial role in tackling money laundering within the financial industry.

In what is described as a “remarkable finding”, the report found that although technology can be an excellent catalyst for progress in AML capabilities, respondents believed that finding qualified AML professionals to implement new technologies is extremely difficult.

Many considered the shortage of qualified people a major stumbling block to AML progress, with more than one-third (35%) of respondents stating that the lack of skilled resources constitutes one of the main impediments to increasing the use of new technologies in their AML operations.

However, despite these reservations, respondents in every region are considering implementing AI solutions to their AML operations, with financial institutions in the Nordics (94%), Africa (93%) and the Middle East (93%) the most enthusiastic.

Transaction monitoring (79%) and screening are the main AML functions (59%) respondents are planning to use AI for, with more than half (55%) anticipating spending more than 10% of their AML budget on digital tools in the next two years.

Costs associated with AML compliance continue to grow. Over half of respondents to the survey (51%) have seen their AML compliance costs rise by at least 10% over the last two years, with banks (62%) seeing the biggest increase.

Staff increases and investments in new digital tools have been the main cost drivers, according to the survey.

Respondents to the report are split on AML regulatory effectiveness. Almost half (47%) of financial firms believe current AML regulations are not sufficiently clear or do not address many of the practicalities of modern AML operations.

Concerns among firms include that rules lack uniformity across countries and industries (18%), there is a lack of practical industry guidance (12%), the rules favour form over substance (8%) or that the rules are not sufficiently detailed (6%).

Imran Farooqi, EMEA anti-financial crime leader at PwC United Kingdom and co-chairman of the editorial board, said: “AML frameworks, policies and actions will be a cornerstone of any financial centre that wishes to be seen as a trusted financial hub.”

“Regulatory frameworks have matured considerably over the last decade, however criminals have also been shown to adapt quickly. This landmark PwC survey provides invaluable insights into how firms have responded to recent regulatory and technological shifts.

“While the financial sector is demonstrably rising to the occasion and taking AML seriously, our research also captures the significant challenges firms still face. By understanding these challenges, policymakers and industry can better work together to build a more robust and future-proof AML ecosystem,” he continued.

AML Solutions for Regulated Services

We can help organisations of all shapes and sizes from across different sectors undertake a review of their policies, controls, and procedures to ensure that they are compliant with AML regulations and, therefore, avoid any breaches.

A review of this nature provides valuable insight into a business when performed correctly. Along with an overview of risk, these crucial assessments also highlight issues within the business, so it is essential to undertake a proper review. All of a company’s building blocks must be considered, including its staff, clients, operations, and finances.

By working with AML & Compliance, a business can be assured that we will bring the required level of knowledge and expertise needed to perform the review, which adds value to the business and is not simply a box-ticking exercise. Our team can also provide a full range of services that include:

· Consultancy.

· Compliance Policies.

· Training.

· Handbooks.

· Auditing.

Our services focus on businesses’ Anti-Money Laundering and Regulatory requirements through the implementation of effective policies, procedures, training, and consultancy. We also provide continued monitoring of staff and ongoing training to ensure that everyone within a business is aware of the latest requirements and complies with their responsibilities.

We offer a full range of services focused on ensuring businesses across all regulated sectors create, maintain and evidence their compliance with the requirements of their regulators and legislation. We work with businesses of all sizes, from the smaller high street or niche businesses to the large multi-office and multinationals.

Get In Touch

We adopt a sensible and pragmatic approach to fees, ensuring we are competitive and always add value. As necessary, we will agree on packaged services to control cost and enable clients to spread payments to alleviate cash flow, yet ensure services are provided when needed. If you want to discuss our services in more detail, contact us at 0203 985 8553, email us at info@amlandcompliance.co.uk or complete an enquiry form.