Anti-money laundering: Cultivating a talented workforce

AML talent is in demand. Can your financial firm build the right skills it will need?


For many financial services firms, the anti-money laundering (AML) workforce is struggling. 

As the regulatory burden around AML processes has increased, firms have stepped up their efforts, focusing on building the right processes, tools and technology to support growing demand.

But what about building AML talent? The AML workforce may be unprepared to tackle new processes or work with new technologies. These skilled workers may not be ready for the increased demands placed on them. Consequently, turnover among these strategically placed workers tends to be high.

What can financial firms do to have the right talent, with the right competencies and strong leadership, to strengthen their AML efforts?

The AML workforce may be unprepared to tackle new processes or work with new technologies.

Anti-Money Laundering talent challenges

Organizations are finding it difficult, however, to build and deploy learning programs at the required scale.

Talented AML professionals are more vital than ever for financial services firms, given increased demand around AML activities. But a talent shortage persists.

Many financial businesses have tried to “grow their own” talent—but they’ve encountered some obstacles:

  • Learning is decentralized, so materials and training across regions and functions is inconsistent. Some functions/regions may not keep pace with regulatory change as well as others.

  • Expenditures for learning programs aren’t keeping pace with the increases in headcount needed to keep AML processes running.

  • As well, the market is saturated, with spending on AML headcount on the rise.

  • Core skills may be taught, but training does not emphasize role-based training or ongoing/continuing education.

  • Training strategies as a whole may be outdated, thus firms struggle to keep up with increased demand—both for AML talent and for training that talent.

Three Anti-Money Laundering talent strategies

​By adopting these strategies, organizations can help build the skills they need to keep their AML efforts up and running:

  1. Establish a formal AML training program, approaching it as an ongoing investment in workforce talent management and operational risk reduction.

  2. Create a role-based program, aligned to competency models, that include the opportunity for certification.

  3. Adopt blended learning approaches that include ongoing reinforcement techniques.

​For more insight into training a talented AML workforce, see Accenture’s paper, Leveraging Enhanced Talent Development Programs To Increase Anti-Money Laundering Workforce Effectiveness.