The C-Suite Compliance Crisis: 49% Only Feel Somewhat Confident About their Company’s Anti-Money Laundering Processes

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  • C-suite cut costs at expense of compliance as 39% reduce 2024 anti-money laundering budgets, survey reveals
  • Yet majority of c-suite execs are concerned about the financial consequences of non-compliance
  • 3 in 4 feel c-level execs should be held personally accountable for AML compliance

London, UK; 23rd April: Half (49%) of c-suite executives only feel somewhat confident about their company’s anti-money laundering processes. That’s according to a new survey by First AML, the anti-money laundering (AML) scaleup.

The company surveyed 250 c-suite executives to determine the way anti-money laundering is prioritised and executed in UK businesses. It found that almost all (99%) of those surveyed are worried about their company’s ability to be compliant with new and upcoming anti-money laundering regulations. Seventy nine percent are concerned about the financial consequences of non-compliance for their organisation, with 28% extremely concerned.

Although there’s a clear apprehension surrounding non-compliance, it’s worrying that 39% have gone on to decrease their anti-money laundering budgets in 2024 in comparison to 2023. 

The survey also found that 75% of respondents feel that c-suite executives should be held personally accountable for ensuring compliance. Thirty two percent strongly agree.

Bion Behdin, co-founder and CRO at First AML, commented: “The c-suite is worried about compliance, so it’s time to put their money where their mouth is. In fact, when asked whether a strong commitment to compliance impacts the company or firm’s reputation in the market, 67% feel it brings a positive impact, and 22% feel it brings a significant positive impact. Given they can see the benefits of compliance, 2024 should be the year that the c-suite prioritises anti-money laundering in their organisations.”

The time for compliance 

Looking to 2024, almost all (99%) of those surveyed have plans to change anti-money laundering processes in 2024. This includes more investment in tech (47%), more investment in people (44%) and more investment in training (42%). However, with budgets tightening, organisations will need to do more with less.

When comparing these stats with a survey First AML conducted back in September 2022, 73% of financial services companies were moving anti-money laundering up the company agenda. Yet, 23% of those surveyed were also considering cutting budgets. With both AML confidence and budgets shrinking, there seems to be a similar outlook in 2024.

Bringing AML to the boardroom

When it comes to discussing AML in their organisation, the majority of c-suite currently discuss anti-money laundering strategies, risks, and processes during board or senior level meetings quarterly (44%), with 31% discussing it bi-annually or less frequently.

On top of this, the majority (49%) receive reports, or have meetings, with their MLRO or compliance officers about compliance quarterly, with 23% only receiving them bi-annually.

“Although it’s positive that AML is being discussed at board level, it’s crucial that these touchpoints are as detailed and frequent as possible,” Behdin continued. “C-suite executives are spinning a lot of plates, and having a clear overview of their company’s AML landscape and response is integral to avoiding fines and reputational damage.”


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