What is a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS)?

4 mins

Who is a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS)? 

Business operations for firms have become more susceptible to money laundering, since this crime is occurring on a global scale. It is hard for financial institutes to establish and maintain industry standards without the risk of financial fraud. However, this risk can be prevented by firms with the help of a skilled AML professional who can detect ML/TF activities within the organization and aid the global financial system at large. A Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS) is an appropriate candidate capable of preventing fraud within an organization by tracking the illicit funds which are subject to a series of complex transfers to disguise their original source. The CAMS certification, which is authorized by the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS), helps to equip the expert with knowledge regarding the prevention and detection of money laundering-related crimes. The ACAMS is a highly valuable and professional credential for AML specialists that is globally recognized by financial institutions.

Is an Anti-Money Laundering Certification Required to Become an AML Specialist?

The ACAMS credential/Anti-Money Laundering Certification is extremely valuable for an AML Specialist. After all, it offers them expert knowledge about AML/CFT fraudulent activities and gives them an insight into money laundering regulations practiced around the world. Further, the certification is not just based on US guidances and policies, as it currently represents more than 175 countries, which includes their bank compliance officers, law enforcement agents, govt regulators, and so forth. The guidance for training in order to gain the certification includes the European Union Directives, the UN Security Council, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, etc. This depicts how various recommendations, regulatory requirements, and policies exist in the world of financial crime, and ways to prevent it beyond physical borders.

The global economy requires that a financial professional must know the difference in AML legislations across different countries, including the regulatory requirements that are followed by the banks and institutions in those places. The professionals should also know if there is a difference in the processes followed by big or small organizations/FIs with international customers. ACAMS or the Anti-Money Laundering Certification aims to provide knowledge about international AML/CFT regimes and reforms, and how to prevent them. The CAMS credential is important for professionals in all financial organizations to learn the AML standards and practices in order to work with global companies. The firms should be able to establish and implement the appropriate training that is required for managing/mitigating risk throughout the company. CAMS credentials can help financial professionals to connect with workers around the world in order to combat money laundering together.

How Can an AML Specialist Acquire the Money Laundering Certificate?  

AML professionals can gain their money laundering certificate by studying toward the Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist (CAMS) credential, as it’s the benchmark that is recognized by FIs, law officials, and governments worldwide. The Advanced CAMS certificates, such as CAMS Audit, CAMS FCI & CAMS Risk Management, offer a higher-level education and training to equip financial professionals to meet the firm’s regulatory requirements, be it as part of an internal investigation, risk management, or auditing. The CAMS certificate can define a professional’s value to their firm and prove their determination to protect the organization’s financial system.

In order to avail the money laundering certificate, AML professionals are required to take the examination for CAMS. To be eligible for the Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist test, the person should have ACAMS membership, as well as a total of 40 credits in completed studies, professional experience, and certification for training in the AML field. The individual can only apply for the membership when they have earned the necessary number of credits.

The CAMS exam is updated as per the latest emerging financial threats and possible solutions to mitigate those risks. It helps to showcase the potential of a professional with a firm understanding of money laundering laws, different regulatory frameworks, operations, and trends practiced internationally. The examination includes multiple-choice questions that cover various topics on the methods of money laundering, risks related to ML/TF, standards and processes of preventing AML/CFT, etc. The individual should be knowledgeable about the recent AML trends, know the basics of different acts and operations, and should be thorough with the functions related to FATF, FSRB, Basel Committee, etc. The minimum percentage required to pass the examination is 75%.

How will the AML Certification Benefit the Financial Firm?

Money laundering is a worldwide threat to all financial institutions and the global economy. So, the knowledge of an expert professional, who can understand the inner workings of financial crime, is required. The CAMS credential helps to offer the AML expertise that is required by a professional who can, in turn, become a valuable asset to international institutes and prove his/her knowledge to the financial industry. With money laundering and terrorist financing techniques becoming more and more challenging in nature, FIs are in need of a skilled and knowledgeable AML Specialist. The specialist with AML certification can benefit the firm with their training about how to detect, investigate, and prevent financial crime in financial organizations. AML certifications such as ACAMS benefit institutions globally as well as locally in order to provide effective business solutions and operations that keep the firm in regulatory compliance.

Apart from providing the certification, ACAMS also collaborates with institutions worldwide to provide education on global AML regulations and how to comply with them. It educates the firms on how to maintain their compliance program and covers training for the whole company on topics related to money laundering activities. The ACAMS programs can be taught across nations, as they provide online training that is efficient and quick for all the team members.

There are various benefits of having the CAMS certificate, as the training of the individual allows them to focus on company-wide compliance in order to prevent any financial threats. The certification allows the professional to establish and implement processes and policies within an organization that can prevent money laundering and terrorist financing. The certification also promotes the development of sound financial practices that eradicate money laundering practices around the globe.

The CAMS credential promotes international standards and practices that can help detect, investigate, and prevent money laundering. It helps to provide knowledge to the financial professionals in organizations about AML standards and strategies, including ways to practice them. The credentials allow the firm to implement the country’s AML legislation, which can sometimes be challenging, and further oversee the development of the institution’s compliance program. The firms can take the help of a certified AML professional in order to keep the employees up-to-date about recent AML trends and any developments in the prevention of financial fraud.

Read More: About the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) organization.

Read More: What is the role of a Money Laundering Reporting Officer (MLRO)?

Read More: Which countries are stated in the FATF Grey List?