Anti-Money Laundering Software is as straightforward as it sounds – It works against Money Laundering.
But, in efforts to understand Anti-Money Laundering, we need to understand money laundering first.
So, what is money laundering?
The term ‘Money Laundering’ originates from the innovative methods used by the Italian Mafia to channel the large amounts of money they acquired from illegal occupations, into financial institutions without raising a concern or being subjected to taxation.
For a brief explanation, ‘money laundering’ encapsulates the numerous ways in which people convert illegally obtained funds into legal money.
To prevent this from happening, many laws got put into place in the late 1900s to ensure that financial institutions (FIs) were safeguarded against illicit activities including, but not limited to, money laundering. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) also makes sure that financial institutions also do not indulge in malpractices by implementing many protocols that FIs needed to follow.
With the addition of these security protocols and compliances, the paperwork that FIs generated suddenly grew manifold. Keeping up with all the new rules and laws was also proving difficult for bank officials. This is why Anti-Money Laundering software came into existence.
Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Software helps banks and other legal/ financial organizations collate, sort and manage customer data and transaction history to identify problematic clients and simultaneously helps them oblige to regulatory compliances.
To gain a deeper understanding of AML software, let’s look into the 4 basic types of AML software –
1) Transaction Monitoring systems – They help monitor and identify suspicious transactions based on transaction patterns and long-term user behaviour. These transactions would include abnormal behaviour, large sum transactions, and multiple consecutive transactions. These systems also put together Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) or Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) that help identify long-term customer behaviour.
2) Currency Transaction Reporting systems – These specifically deal with keeping a record of large cash transactions. The sum varies from region to region. Some systems also have real-time tracking and allow FIs to verify customer identity before allowing large cash transactions.
3) Customer Identity Management systems – Customer Identity Management is an important part of KYC (Know Your Customer). It helps financial institutions identify potentially dangerous customers by checking various databases for fraudulent activity, identity theft, blacklisted persons, and other suspicious behavior. Most countries maintain an elaborate list of suspicious identities as well as PEPs (Politically Exposed Persons). These candidates are generally flagged by the customer identity management system through its name screening capabilities.
4) Compliance Management systems – As stated before, to ensure the security of FIs, many regulatory compliances have been put into place. Keeping up with these and making sure that a FI is truly compliant can be taken care of with compliance management systems. They create audit trails, keep records of proof of compliance, track employee records and training, and help handle non-compliance situations.
Some modern AML Tools utilize Artificial Intelligence (AI) to streamline the above-mentioned processes. These tools function on static and dynamic sets of rules, are capable of integrating with third-party security tools and databases, accumulating and organizing data, and can automatically screen customer profiles for potential risks.