Lessons Learnt for Effective AML Training in 2020

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We don’t just train professionals – we also learn from them, from you! So as the ‘busy season’ for AML training draws to a close, here are some of the key lessons learnt by us in 2019 that can help you plan for a better 2020. 

1. Creating a culture of AML compliance takes time.

When staff have time to actually digest concepts and knowledge, and they actually have the time to then apply these on the job, the effect is one of sustained AML compliance throughout the year. Staff are actively thinking about what identifying and reporting suspicious behaviour involves; they are not just mechanically going through KYC check-lists and ticking off certain items just because they are in the rules. 

And there is a lot to learn and discuss when it comes to AML regulations, seeing as so much of it is a matter of judgement! For example, some of our clients used our flexible system to extend the training as ‘in-house’, creating discussion groups and agreeing on the solutions for each case study collectively. This was quite valuable, especially in larger firms, where individuals came to feel like they were much more a part of the process in fighting Money Laundering. 

2. It’s never too early to start the AML training cycle. 

The earlier you roll it out, the clearer the message to staff that AML training is vital. The key message  that you want staff to take away is that AML compliance is to be taken seriously. An investment is being made into their training on the subject for very serious reasons.

This also helps fight the feeling, both among management and other staff, that this training is only being conducted to satisfy regulators’ demands. Giving the process some time helps you motivate staff to consider their role when it comes to fighting money laundering, rather than piling on yet more compliance demands at an already busy year-end. 

3. Think about the subject holistically. 

Although most of the subject of AML might seem obvious to some, there is a lot to unpack when it is being taught practically, on the basis of case studies that relate to participants’ working lives. So think about how you will structure your staff’s learning throughout the year or even years, and make sure your AML training evaluates staff knowledge and capabilities as they go along. 

Our clients can rely on objective measures of staff progress throughout their training, so that year on year they can build a complete picture of where there might be weaknesses in their team, whether they can ask us to focus on a specific topic the next year, or whether it might be worth following up the training with an additional information session on a specific subject. Feedback is key to this, as is thinking about AML training as a continued and long-term project. 

Key takeaway: think long-term for best results

It might sound like a cliché, but it does pay to think long-term, even about something as seemingly mundane as mandatory AML training. It’s actually an exciting topic, and you might find in the process that you are motivating others to think so too!  

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