Anti-Money Laundering: What It Is and Why It Matters

Anti-Money Laundering: What It Is and Why It MattersYou might have come across the term “money laundering” one or more times if you have been dealing with financial management.

The criminal practice of laundering illicit proceeds to conceal their origin is one of the most serious challenges confronting the world economy, and its scope is continually expanding.

Every year, it is predicted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that 2 to 5% of global GDP, which is approximately 800 billion USD to 2 trillion USD, is laundered throughout the world.

To address this issue, anti-money laundering (AML) is put into effect.

If you want to learn more about anti-money laundering and its significance, you’ve come to the correct spot. We’ll take you through what anti-money laundering is and why it’s important in our blog.
Anti-money laundering: What is it?

Before we go into anti-money laundering, let’s understand money laundering and why it’s so vital to prevent it.

Money laundering has been classified as a financial crime. It entails concealing the sources of fraudulently obtained revenues so that they look to come from a respectable source. It can also be used to conceal the nature, origin, and activities of crimes to provide a lawful appearance.

There are several money laundering techniques, and these techniques grow and evolve in tandem with technological advancements.

International and domestic regulators issue new anti-money laundering rules in order to reduce the harmful impacts and losses of money laundering while also ensuring that offenders are discovered.

Anti-Money Laundering regulations are what they’re named (AML).

Anti-Money Laundering regulations are what they're named (AML).

Anti-money laundering refers to all the activities that financial institutions engage in to ensure that they are following regulatory obligations to actively assess and monitor suspicious activity.

It consists of policies, rules, and regulations aimed at preventing financial frauds.

AML is a global acronym for preventing money laundering. To combat financial crimes, global and regional authorities are created across the world, and these agencies develop AML regulations.

Companies must comply with these AML rules but doing so may be a difficult task. Hence, companies maintain AML compliance teams in place to guarantee AML compliance.

If you are seeking an efficient solution to prevent money laundering, check out the AML solution from SEON. They provide a plethora of helpful services to assist you in effectively combating these illegal operations.

History of anti-money laundering

When a group of governments from across the world founded the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in July 1989 in Paris, anti-money laundering activities became well-known.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) began by researching and developing anti-money laundering techniques, as well as establishing global standards to prevent money laundering and promote their implementation.

Following the terrorist attacks on September 11, the FATF broadened its purpose to include a battle against terrorist funding in October 2001.

The International Monetary Fund is another significant player in the battle against money laundering. The IMF, like the FATF, oversees and obligates its 189 member countries to conform with international norms to avoid terrorist funding.

To avoid the financial system from misusing money laundering, the European Union implemented the first AML Directive in the year 1990.

The European Union’s AML directives are continually being updated to minimize the risks connected with terrorist financing and money laundering.

Process of anti-money laundering

Process of anti-money laundering

The basic goal of an anti-money laundering solution is to control money laundering. To accomplish this purpose, regulators establish a set of procedures. These processes must be followed by all businesses.

‘Know Your Customer’ or KYC is one of these techniques.

Companies are required by regulators to understand their consumers better. They can further determine if a transaction is unusual based on the information provided by the customer.

A consumer who wishes to transfer money, for example, may be on a country’s record of anti-socials. If the company doesn’t know this consumer, it will almost certainly aid in the financing of anti-social agencies. As a result, it will constitute a significant financial crime, with severe consequences.

However, if the firm implements effective anti-money laundering software, suspicious transactions will be blocked. The corporation will then record the transaction and claim that it has averted a huge financial crime.

In addition to KYC procedures, firms can use Customer Due Diligence methods to determine their customer’s risk and get to know them.

CDD methods can detect consumers’ dangers and take the required precaution. However, some consumers, such as politically exposed people, are at a higher risk.

Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD) processes may be used if CDD techniques are insufficient to detect these people’s dangers.

EDD is a KYC diligence method that offers a more thorough analysis. When an alert is issued, the procedure is automatically halted and thoroughly evaluated by the company’s Compliance Department.

If they discover a consumer transaction crime, they notify AML, KYC, and CFT agencies. This report is known as the Suspect Activity Report (SAR).

When properly implemented, AML or CFT restrictions reduce the negative impacts of illegal economic activity while also promoting the reliability and stability of the financial market.

Why is anti-money laundering important?

There is a growing recognition that, to be efficient, compliance must instill corporate cultures vertically and laterally with holistic plans and overviews substituting compartmentalized risk operations.

Such overriding compliance norms not only protect the financial institution’s prestige and credit score, but also provide protection against regulatory scrutiny and audit. It also works in conjunction with other vulnerable operations to minimize risks, boost efficiencies, and thus improve long-term economic prospects.

AML measures also serve as checkpoints for broader fraudulent behavior.

Smuggling, illicit arms sales, theft, insider trading, extortion, and computer fraudulent acts are all common acts that include money laundering. It’s also prevalent in organized crime, such as human, weapons, and drug trafficking.

Businesses pay a high price for money laundering, and the community suffers as a result.

By emphasizing, simplifying, utilizing, and engaging in KYC, businesses inexorably and healthily concentrate more on the customers. It assures higher acquisition and retention and improves total customer happiness and engagement via touchpoint optimization.

Consumer trust in businesses is substantially increased by the decorum and continuous monitoring experience. Customers respect the policy’s aims as well as the efficiency with which it is implemented.

As a result, companies are increasingly seeking long-term partnerships with compliance specialists, who progressively operate in separate ecosystems of mutually recognized service providers. It ensures that compliance departments can quickly adapt to the new requirements for related service.

Counter-financing of terrorism or CFT, that financial institutions utilize to fight terrorist financing, is closely tied to anti-money laundering.

Apart from the moral responsibility to combat money laundering, financial institutions utilize AML strategies for several purposes. Some of them are:

Comply with rules requiring them to track consumers and transactions, and document suspicious activities.
Avoid consent orders including criminal and civil fines that might be imposed due to disobedience or carelessness.
Reduce costs associated with fines, staff and IT expenses, and capital set aside for the risk exposure.

Combat money laundering will help in the fight against all forms of crimes. For example, money laundering has the potential to destroy financial systems and national economies. Money laundering along with other forms of corruption will erode trust in democratic institutions.

AML procedures safeguard society’s most vulnerable citizens by assisting in the creation of societies where crime is less frequent and financial inclusion is enabled by accurate and dependable KYC processes.
Established economies with considerable social stability eventually draw sufficient funds from both abroad and within the country. Apart from the benefits of regulatory compliance and avoiding penalties, community AML compliance benefits everyone.

Investing in compliance means investing in consumer loyalty and trust, and it might be a method of achieving peak long-term profits while also assuring business succession, regulatory wellness, and brand protection.

AML can also help to raise brand awareness and make customers feel safer about doing business with you. Customers can see businesses which have been examined or punished as untrustworthy.

Access points to global financial networks have become more digitized, providing additional opportunity for the money launderers to move cash in an easier and opaque manner, as well as for fraudsters to engage in illicit behavior.

As a result, there is a commercial market for intelligent, adaptable, and simple-to-use AML solutions, as well as sophisticated yet accessible digital identity verification systems.


Money laundering can’t be totally eradicated, but it may be significantly reduced by maintaining a high level of monitoring.

Customers’ deposits as well as other transactions can be monitored by financial institutions to ensure they’re not the part of any money-laundering operation.

The Bank Secrecy Act and its accompanying laws or AML rules must be followed by businesses.

The goal of the AML standards is to aid in the detection and reporting of suspicious conduct, such as security frauds and market manipulations. Financial firms must ensure that their clients are informed of AML requirements to be compliant with them.

Several businesses have already chosen AML solutions to stay compliant.

Let us know in the Comments section below what are your views on anti-money laundering and what steps do you take to prevent it.

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