Former Anti Money Laundering Analyst at JP Morgan & Chase
about 2 years ago
You need to firstly be an excellent and experienced writer. The primary means of conducting AML investigations and summary dispositions is by written reports. These follow a very specific style and require close attention to detail, but not for irrelevant details. Effective writing requires brevity and organizing your thoughts so as not to lose the reader and the importance of your work. You don’t want to produce something of no value. SARs especially require mastery of the written format, otherwise investigators in FINCEN will move on to a better-written report, potentially missing a major financial crime. Write like a police officer would write a police report. Start with that.
Secondly, you need an encyclopedic knowledge of the BSA, money laundering typologies and geography.
Thirdly, you need to have very advanced Excel skills. This is the foundation of the AML reporting system at most banks and if you don’t know it well and how to run a macro and perform various functions, you will not succeed. Many people with very little substantive knowledge of AML/KYC procedures, typologies and laws/regulations go very far in the compliance field on this basis alone.