Any business that deals in money and financial assets should start with a Risk Assessment for Money Laundering, Human Trafficking, and Terrorism funding. This includes firms that deal in cryptocurrency, payments, remittances, real estate, and other high-value commodities. AML Risk Assessment is not only a matter of good business practices to help fight against financial crime, but a matter of AML/CFT compliance that is actively enforced by Banks as part of their KYC mandate. It provides the basis for the firm’s AML Policy, Procedures, and Controls.
Spreadsheets for Everything
While an RA is the foundation for a good risk-based AML Regime, it is often marginalized by many non-bank financial firms. It is done in a superficial manner, using tools that are convenient and free, but ill-suited for the job. Spreadsheets are generally the tool of choice to input, track, and manage the annual risk assessment compliance requirement. As one can imagine, this approach is rather ineffective. It lacks proper controls, is prone to human-errors, difficult to audit, share, or track revision history. Moreover, as banks enhance their KYC regimes, they require annually updated formal AML Risk Assessment documentation. The inherent limitations of spreadsheets for RA reporting and management is obvious.
Alternatives to Spreadsheets
So then, what are the alternatives to spreadsheets? The challenge once again for most SMEs and FinTech innovators is Cost, Availability, Competence, and Convenience. In our search for alternatives, we could not find a competent RA tool that met our basic requirements, was available at low-cost, was easy to get started, and convenient to use.
When we introduced our FREE Watchlist Curator Tool, we made the following statement:
“At KYC2020, we could have invested in writing a blog and talked about why “over-screening” is an expensive problem… Instead, we decided to have our CAMS™ AML specialists build a tool to help you identify what Sanction, PEP, and watchlists you should be screening based on your company’s risk profile. And we decided to make our watchlist builder available free of charge.”
KYC2020 Free AML Risk Assessment Tool
For our AML Risk Assessment Tool, we decided not to be so lazy. We not only built a tool that we could make available for FREE, but also forced our CAMLO, Joseph Iuso, CAMS™, to write a Blog on the What, Why, and How’s of an AML Risk Assessment. Between the information and wisdom of Joseph’s blog and the competence and convenience of our RA tool, I believe we have got you covered. Of course, we have the standard disclaimers, and you should already know that a tool cannot replace the advice of your in-house Compliance Officer.
Get started by clicking below.
KYC2020 AML Risk Assessment Tool benefits heavily from the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council’s (FFIEC) Risk Assessment guidelines, as well as the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) BSA/AML Self Assessment tool. The tool considers five (5) main categories to arrive at an aggregate risk score for your business. These are: 1) Products and Services, 2) Customers, 3) Geography, 4) Operations, and 5) Agents. For each category, you have the opportunity to specify the High, Medium, and Low Risk definitions inherent to the business. For the inherent risk definitions you then specify your controls and mitigation measures to arrive at the residual risk; the risk that still remains after application of your counter-measures. This residual risk is then scored and aggregated across all categories to complete your risk assessment.
Who said it would be Easy
Sounds complicated? That’s because it is. Even for AML specialists working on a low-risk profile business, this is a minimum 2+ hour investment of time. It is for this reason the tool has the ability to save work and complete the assessment over multiple sessions. With a little bit of study, watching our Get Started Video, and rolling up your sleeves you can get through with your risk assessment on your own and for FREE!
Need Help with your RA?
For those who need a little bit of help completing, we offer some reasonably priced paid options to speed up your risk assessment process and follow best practices. These include, access to business specific templates that can be customized to speed up the assessment, different consulting packages to help prepare, review, and/or audit your Risk Assessment by our CAMS™ or VSKILLS™ certified AML specialist.
Once again, there is no catch. The tool is no obligation and we do not take any payment information. We do hope you might take the time to see what awesome and affordable AML compliance solutions we offer, from Global Watchlist Data to Sanction Screening to AML compliance consulting services. Chat with us online now, email us, or just use the tool. Our aim is to help you reduce the cost and friction of AML compliance.