Anti-Money Laundering and Ongoing Monitoring

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| Courtney Price

Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Customer Due Diligence (CDD) are critical components in safeguarding the integrity of financial systems.

In her session, AML - Customer Due Diligence and Ongoing Monitoring, Elaine Jackson explains that one of the most vital aspects of these processes is ongoing monitoring, which ensures that customer activities remain consistent with their risk profiles and that any suspicious behaviour is promptly identified and addressed.

The Importance of Ongoing Monitoring

Ongoing monitoring is not a one-off task but a continuous process integral to effective AML and CDD practices. It involves regularly reviewing and updating customer information, scrutinizing transactions, and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements. This continuous vigilance helps financial institutions detect and mitigate risks associated with money laundering and terrorist financing.

Key Elements of Ongoing Monitoring

  1. Identity and Address Verification: Regular revalidation of customer identities and addresses is essential. This step ensures that the information on file remains accurate and up-to-date, which is crucial for assessing the legitimacy of transactions and the overall risk profile of the customer.
  2. Beneficial Ownership Checks: Identifying the real beneficial owners (RBO) of accounts is a fundamental aspect of ongoing monitoring. This process helps uncover hidden interests and potential risks associated with complex ownership structures.
  3. Transaction Pattern Analysis: Financial institutions must examine transaction patterns to identify anomalies. This includes looking for unusually large transactions, complex transactions, or those conducted in unusual patterns without apparent economic or lawful purposes. Advanced computer-assisted techniques and data analysis tools are often employed to detect outliers and suspicious activities.
  4. Business Location and Product Diversification: Changes in a client's business location or the diversification of products and services can heighten risk levels. Monitoring these changes helps institutions adjust their risk assessments and take appropriate actions.

Techniques and Tools for Effective Monitoring

Modern AML and CDD practices leverage sophisticated software tools to analyze vast amounts of data and identify unusual transactions. These tools can perform searches for round numbers, detect outliers, and flag transactions that deviate from established patterns. By employing these technologies, financial institutions can efficiently monitor customer activities and maintain compliance with regulatory standards.

The Role of Forensic Accounting

Forensic accounting plays a significant role in ongoing monitoring. Forensic accountants use their expertise to investigate unusual patterns and transactions. They employ various techniques, including ratio analysis and industry benchmark comparisons, to assess the legitimacy of financial activities. Their work helps ensure that financial figures are reasonable and that any discrepancies are thoroughly investigated.

Documentation and Evidence

One of the primary goals of ongoing monitoring is to document and evidence the work being done. Financial institutions must maintain detailed records of their monitoring activities, including the rationale behind their analyses and the outcomes of their investigations. This documentation serves as proof of compliance and demonstrates that the institution has taken appropriate steps to mitigate risks.

Ongoing monitoring is a cornerstone of effective AML and CDD practices. By continuously verifying customer information, analysing transaction patterns, and leveraging advanced tools and techniques, financial institutions can detect and prevent money laundering and other illicit activities. While the goal is not to catch criminals per se, it is to ensure that financial figures are reasonable and that any suspicious activities are promptly addressed. Through diligent monitoring and thorough documentation, financial institutions can uphold the integrity of the financial system and comply with regulatory requirements.

For the full session, please click here. Elaine focuses on the following areas during the course:

The Procedures to be undertaken when carrying out;

  • Simplified Customer Due Diligence
  • Normal Customer Due Diligence
  • Enhanced Customer Due Diligence
  • Ongoing Monitoring

AND

The MLRO’s role and responsibility in ensuring that the correct procedures are being applied and followed with particular focus on evidencing the procedures carried out.

The contents of this article are meant as a guide only and are not a substitute for professional advice. The author/s accept no responsibility for any action taken, or refrained from, as a result of the material contained in this document. Specific advice should be obtained before acting or refraining from acting, in connection with the matters dealt with in this article.

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About the Author

Courtney Price is a content creator for CPDStore. Courtney joined us during the COVID-19 pandemic and has been involved in the ever-evolving world of accounting ever since. Her passion for reading and writing, coupled with her degree in copywriting from Vega School has allowed her to channel her creativity and expertise into crafting engaging and informative content.

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