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ANALYSIS: Measuring the Impact of Covid-19 on AML Compliance

July 27, 2020, 8:24 AM

The Covid-19 pandemic has made 2020 a year of unprecedented uncertainty in anti-money laundering (AML) compliance. Bloomberg Law is interested in knowing how AML controls are faring during the pandemic and launching a new survey to gain insights on the pandemic’s impact on AML compliance programs.

Financial regulators began the year with a series of actions that should have put financial institutions on notice that AML compliance programs continue to be a key priority. The onset of Covid-19 and its impact on global markets has only added to those concerns. Regulators have acknowledged that the pandemic has created AML compliance challenges for financial institutions. Soon after President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency on March 13, they encouraged financial institutions to communicate their concerns over compliance problems.

As if dealing with the pandemic and economic downturn were not enough, organizations must remain vigilant in maintaining compliance controls to detect and counter rising pandemic-related fraud schemes. Nefarious actors are increasingly targeting employees working from home, finding opportunities to exploit vulnerabilities in telecommuting applications and platforms to carry out their crimes.

It’s a bleak picture, but one that presents an opportunity for organizations to assess their AML controls to prevent, detect, and manage money laundering and terrorist financing risks. This is an ongoing obligation, but evaluating and maintaining these controls may help your organization during turbulent financial market activity caused by the pandemic, and strengthen them for the challenges to come.

For some organizations, technology may provide answers to certain AML compliance problems, helping to maintain controls while other resources are lacking. Some of you have had to adjust your organization’s AML controls while facing reduced access to the staff, records, systems, and information you need to maintain your AML compliance controls. Some of you have had to adopt interim processes to accommodate both remote and in-office activities. Are these changes impacting your AML controls or possibly increasing your organization’s exposure to money laundering/terrorist financing and other risks (e.g., fraud, data privacy, or cybercrime)?

We want to hear from you! Bloomberg Law is surveying the pandemic’s impact on AML compliance and the core components of your program (click here). It’s a short survey (about 10 minutes to complete) to help us understand how your organization’s AML controls have been affected by the pandemic. Specifically, we want to know:
1) how prepared your firm was to respond,
2) whether significant changes were or will be needed,
3) any specific areas of concern, and
4) if and how the pandemic has affected your resources, your access to them, and your firm’s subsequent ability to carry out standard operating procedures to maintain its AML controls.

We also want to know whether the pandemic has caused your firm to make changes, outsource certain activities, or seek regulatory relief regarding these controls.

Your feedback is important and will help us determine the pandemic’s overall impact on AML compliance programs. We will use our findings to help inform potential tools and resources for our upcoming AML Compliance library. Your participation will give you access to a digital copy of an executive summary of the survey and a complimentary copy of Bloomberg Law’s AML Compliance Self-Assessment Questionnaire. These are useful resources that can show you what other organizations are experiencing and help you do a quick spot-check of your own AML compliance controls.

Please complete the survey, and thanks in advance for your help with this effort.

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