What is AML Risk Assessment, and what it is needed for?

One bank discovered that a great many cases were flagged as high risk and had to be reviewed because customers described themselves as a doctor or MD, when the system only recognized “physician” as an occupation. NLP algorithms were used to conduct semantic analysis and quickly fix the problem, helping to reduce the enhanced due-diligence backlog by more than 10 percent. Inherent risk refers to those factors that affect your organization when you have not taken any steps to mitigate them. Think about it https://www.xcritical.com/ this way – the inherent risks are present just because your organization exists and conducts a certain type of business. Likewise, your Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) might want to review your risk assessment process to determine whether your organization is putting in the appropriate effort to catch and prevent money laundering. You must monitor the operations of the organization and its transactions and determine the extent to which the services could be exploited, internally or externally.

And sometimes, seemingly innocent people can do terrible things you never thought possible. But most AML risk assessments focus on items that are closely related to crime. Use a fast-paced and iterative approach to cycle through model inputs quickly and identify those that align best with the overarching risk factors. Financial institutions have traditionally relied on experts, as well as regulatory guidance, to identify the inputs used in risk-rating-score models and decide how to weight them. But different inputs from different experts contribute to unnecessary complexity and many bespoke rules.

AMLOnline Portal

The chief compliance officer will manage the training program and determine the qualifications the staff should have. As shown above, when a user enters a prospective customer’s email address, SEON’s software is able to determine whether that account is connected to a lack of social and digital footprints. The below table shows two core examples in which an AML risk assessment is a requirement, and two other examples where it is simply optional. Identifies risk across your organization’s products, high-risk customer types, and geographies. Reasonable efforts have been made by AdvisoryHQ to present accurate information, however all info is presented without warranty. Firms often assign higher weight factors to a customer’s source of wealth, country of residency, purpose of account, industry, etc.

It is essential to consider what the company has used for ML/TF (money laundering and terrorist financing) cases. Even if the person responsible thinks that “we have no risk “, it is crucial to consider possible cases/events. To determine a customer’s overall risk rating, a select list of variables is assessed, and each one is rated as low, medium, or high risk. This guide gives an overview of the risk-based approach and helps you to carry out a risk assessment of your business.

Implementing an Effective Customer Identification Program

Best practice involves applying a three-tier rating scale to assess the risk of money laundering or terrorism funding occurring, identified as high risk, moderate risk or low risk. Should the risk be rated high, your mitigation efforts are not effective enough and additional risk management measures should be implemented immediately. For example, when there are adequate controls in place, risk ratings might reduce from a three to a two. The first step for conducting an AML risk assessment is to create the appropriate documentation regarding key risk indicators (KRIs) and, in turn, how they relate to your business. As information changes and evolves, it helps to have everything cataloged to be sure your processes stay up-to-date and relevant.

  • Examiners should also assess whether the bank has considered all products, services, customers, and geographic locations, and whether the bank analyzed the information relative to those risk categories.
  • FINRA expects that you will perform a robust review of both your procedures and their implementation.
  • Criminals started finding new ways to launder money as technology advanced in recent years.
  • Determine how effectively processes are being implemented and followed and don’t hesitate to update your programs to meet the latest AML requirements if needed.
  • To combat AML worldwide, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an inter-governmental body that sets standards to guide countries to develop and update their AML and CTF laws, has been created.
  • Likewise, your Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) might want to review your risk assessment process to determine whether your organization is putting in the appropriate effort to catch and prevent money laundering.

On horizon two, statistical models use customer information that is regularly updated to rate customer risk more accurately. To complement information from customers’ profiles, institutions use network analytics to construct a behavioral view of how money moves around their customers’ accounts. Customer risk scores are computed via machine-learning approaches utilizing transparency techniques to explain the scores and accelerate investigations. And customer data are updated continuously while external data, such as property records, are used to flag potential data-quality issues and prioritize remediation. So, while product risk is an important factor to consider, so too are behavioral variables.

Money Laundering Risk Assessment Template

It really depends on your business, your appetite for risk and capacity to deal with complex situations. While a client may look low risk, they may be using a service you provide which has a potential high risk. For example, if you provide address services for the set up of a new business there is the potential to create anonymity which could be used to facilitate money laundering. Risk assessment documents don’t necessarily have to be complicated, but they should be tailored to your company’s specific business activities and risks.

Whether you file a SAR-SF or not, remember to document whatever process you use to review and analyze transactions for suspicious activity reporting. The AML risk assessment process does not stop after the steps we just described – it is a continuous process. As such, the last step is to conduct regular audits and reviews to ensure the program remains healthy and effective. In other words, you need to complete AML risk assessments to comply with the regulations and to protect your organization and staff from the threat of money laundering and other financial crimes. Once you complete the AML risk assessment, you can rate your clients as low, medium, or high risk.


An AML risk assessment plan will help protect you from these financial crimes. There are a few exemptions from performing customer identification, like customers that are publicly-traded companies on the New York Stock Exchange, NASDAQ or AMEX. It’s important to remember that for customers who are exempt from CIP, firms must still monitor those customers’ activities for anything suspicious and report them when necessary. Whatever monitoring https://www.xcritical.com/blog/aml-risk-assessments-what-are-they-and-why-they-matter/ procedures you have in place to do this, be sure to review and update them on a regular basis. Poor data quality is the single biggest contributor to the poor performance of customer risk-rating models. Incorrect know-your-customer (KYC) information, missing information on company suppliers, and erroneous business descriptions impair the effectiveness of screening tools and needlessly raise the workload of investigation teams.

What Is AML Risk Assessment

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