For traditional financial institutions and most Money Services Businesses (MSBs), compliance with the anti-money laundering (AML) requirements under the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) is an unavoidable component of conducting your operations. All financial institutions and any business conducting financial transactions are required to meet the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) compliance obligations. It is essential to have a well-developed BSA/AML/OFAC compliance program in place that manages compliance risks and promotes best practices for your industry.
Designing and implementing a comprehensive and effective BSA/AML/OFAC compliance program is no simple task. Programs will vary based on each specific company, though the following are major components of nearly every compliance program.
Each company has a different risk profile, so there is no one-size-fits-all approach to compliance programs. FinCEN expects each institution to tailor its program specifically to its operations, and our specialists can assess your risks based on your location, customers, and services, and then develop a compliance program based on each individual risk profile.
Policies and Procedures
Each program should have clear policies and procedures for every role in the business and each type of transaction. Policies should clearly communicate internal responsibilities, systems, and best practices.
A key part of AML compliance is conducting Independent Reviews to test your program for risk or compliance issues. Review frequency and scope will vary based on your operations, and we can advise on necessary reviews as well as conduct the reviews.
Everyone in your company who participates in the BSA/AML/OFAC compliance program should understand relevant parts of the program and their responsibilities. Training should be conducted on a regular basis to maintain a culture of compliance.
When FinCEN (the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) changes its guidance on BSA/AML compliance, it can be challenging to manage a program in full compliance with changing rules, as well as managing OFAC economic sanctions obligations and any applicable state regulations. At Bates, our specialists understand and identify all requirements for different types of financial businesses. Many of our consulting experts have CAMS, CAMS-Audit, CFRM, and CRCM certifications, and some are former AML regulators who understand exactly what government officials are looking for.
The regulatory landscape is always changing, and it is important to regularly assess the effectiveness of your BSA/AML compliance program in light of updated laws and standards. Our BSA/AML consultants can conduct a gap analysis to identify potential risk areas. We can then work with your company to update and enhance your anti-money laundering program accordingly.
BSA/AML Consulting Services
Banks and MSBs across the country must strictly comply with federal and state laws, especially Bank Secrecy Act and other anti-money laundering regulations. It can take a significant amount of time and knowledge to design and implement policies and training programs that keep your business on track with BSA/AML compliance. However, cutting corners can only lead to possible violations and costly penalties.
If your organization needs assistance with ongoing compliance, you should not hesitate to learn about our professional BSA/AML consulting services. Bates offers ongoing advisory services to a wide range of financial institutions and MSBs -- Contact us to learn about our range of services.