Posted by Brian Monroe - firstname.lastname@example.org 09/07/2021
ACFCS Fincrime Virtual Week 2021 Takeaways: Through the eyes of an attendee – Day one highlights, investigations, cyber and sanctions
By Brian Monroe
September 7, 2021
In this series, ACFCS takes a look back at our premier event of the year, Fincrime Virtual Week 2021, with key highlights, takeaways and snapshots of resonance and relevance through the eyes of an attendee: Mehrzaad Mogrelia, a forensic accountant, author, speaker and mentor in India.
More than 6,500 financial crime compliance professionals – current and former anti-money laundering officers and fraud fighters, regulators, investigators and watchdog groups – registered for ACFCS’ Second Annual Fincrime Virtual Week, with the overarching theme of empowering the community to be “Agents of Innovation.”
Some themes for the first day of the event included better capturing, taming and wielding big data, the importance of technology and training together to sharpen human decision-making and balancing regulatory requirements with crafting deeper intelligence that would be of greater value to law enforcement.
Mogrelia’s deep and detailed accounts and proficient and prolific social posts spoke to his passion for the field of financial crime and compliance and the value and knowledge of the speakers and topics.
To read the full series, click here.
Here are some of his thoughts on Day One:
In historic U.S. AML update, the compliance focus shifts to effectiveness, results
The AML Act of 2020 is a revolution in regulation of Financial Crime compliance programs in the US.
To discuss this, the session was steered by Ms. Jennifer Ambuehl (Chief, Bank Integrity Unit at U.S. Department of Justice), Mr. Jim Richards (President, RegTech Consulting) and Mr. Ross Delston (Attorney and Expert Witness at Law Offices of Ross Delston).
The session started off by discussing the changes the AML Act would bring to the Bank Secrecy Act.
A change to the Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) filing regime is by far the largest piece of the AML Act.
Banks and other entities subject to AML rules file millions of SARs each year and the intelligence they provide to the Government can form the foundation of new cases or strengthen ongoing investigations.
One powerful element of the AML Act, however, would be feedback to corporates on SAR filing procedures, the quality of individual filings, and broader trends that could help institutions directly or regionally, which many consider to be the biggest game changer.
While SAR filings have helped the government in financial crime cases across the spectrum, what has been lacked for years – and what the U.S. upgrade seeks to address – is the lack of feedback to banks on what SARs were useful, what ones were not, and why, an effort that would help institutions take a more tactical, strategic approach to filing.
At the heart of the act is also a push for broader public-private partnerships, with banks, federal investigators and regulators working together to improve programs, processes and results – focusing on the highest risk entities, criminal organizations or terror groups, in this instance guided by the government releasing National AML Priorities.
The National Priorities highlighted need to be consistent with the AML Act and certain new priorities like Foreign and Domestic Terrorist Financing, Proliferation Financing, Human Trafficking and Smuggling, etc. were announced by FinCen.
Several other risk areas like Antiquities, Crypto were also identified.
The FinCEN priorities, likely familiar drumbeats to large, international banks, are still given more weight and attention as they stand front and center at the new countercrime vanguard, the tip of the spear for fincrime fighters, not buried in dense and didactic reports, such as the Treasury’s 2020 Illicit Finance Strategy, the 2018 National Risk Assessment and others.
FinCEN’s stated AML priorities are:
- cybercrime, including relevant cybersecurity and virtual currency considerations;
- foreign and domestic terrorist financing;
- transnational criminal organization activity;
- drug trafficking organization activity;
- human trafficking and human smuggling; and
- proliferation financing
To read the full list of AML priorities and related interagency statements, click here.
See What Certified Financial Crime Specialists Are Saying
"The CFCS tests the skills necessary to fight financial crime. It's comprehensive. Passing it should be considered a mark of high achievement, distinguishing qualified experts in this growing specialty area."
KENNETH E. BARDEN
"It's a vigorous exam. Anyone passing it should have a great sense of achievement."
(CFCS, Official Superior
de Cumplimiento Cidel
Bank & Trust Inc. Nueva York)
"The exam tests one's ability to apply concepts in practical scenarios. Passing it can be a great asset for professionals in the converging disciplines of financial crime."
(CFCS, Royal Band of
"The Exam is far-reaching. I love that the questions are scenario based. I recommend it to anyone in the financial crime detection and prevention profession."
(CFCS, CAMS Lead Compliance
Trainer, FINRA, Member Regulation
Training, Washington, DC)
"This certification comes at a very ripe time. Professionals can no longer get away with having siloed knowledge. Compliance is all-encompassing and enterprise-driven."
CFCS, CAMS, CFE, CSAR
Director, Global Risk
& Investigation Practice
FTI Consulting, Los Angeles