Anti-Money Laundering – the growth profession in the City

September 30, 2019 by Mark Dunn

The Financial Times is reporting a significant growth in the recruitment of anti-money laundering (AML) expertise within the City. According to the latest statistics, the number of new jobs in the AML sector amongst UK banks has grown by more than 2,000 in the last year – an increase of more than 50%. And, at the recent ACAMS UK Chapter meeting hosted by LexisNexis, David Symes – MD of Compliance Recruitment Solutions Ltd – presented on the burgeoning job market in AML and Financial Crime, offering useful advice and practical tips for Compliance practitioners (check out the blog post).

Increasing regulatory requirements are one of the biggest organisational challenges as regulatory burdens continue to change and increase around the globe so it is not surprising to see growth in this profession, particularly with increased scrutiny of banks both in the media and the wider public since the banking crisis of 2008. The fact that the FT report claims that some AML contractors can earn up to £1,500 per day demonstrates how seriously the banks takes these positions and the increased demand for the best practitioners.

Underneath the headline figures though, some additional trends are emerging that are fuelling this growth. The growing number of sanctions being applied by international bodies against individuals, companies and countries is driving increased complexity into the role of the AML specialist (read our recent sanctions posts). As sanctions change, potentially on a daily basis, watch lists and blacklists are updated and the number of politically exposed persons increases, so the need to have an overview of an increasingly fluid environment grows.

In July not one single Dollar, Euro or Swiss Franc was lent to a Russian business as a result of sanctions following the Ukraine crisis Adding to the obstacles for financial transactions is the global nature of business. Bloomberg Research recently reported that in July not one single Dollar, Euro or Swiss Franc was lent to a Russian business as a result of sanctions following the Ukraine crisis. But global interdependency could make these sanctions counter-productive, meaning that Russian companies will not have the resources to lend to subsidiaries in other countries and potentially impacting jobs in countries outside of Russia. Further complexities include companies with international ownership or where companies are owned by Russians but registered in other countries. Only through access to up to date information on both companies and the individuals that run them can AML professionals be certain that they are fully compliant with sanctions.

The challenges in AML compliance are unlikely to diminish. Globalisation will continue apace and drive additional need for up to date information on who is running businesses, what their background is and which other businesses they run. It seems that, for the foreseeable future, the role of the AML consultant will remain as one of the fastest growing City roles and those at the top of their gain can expect to command a significant premium.

End notes
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