Challenge

The US Department of Justice and bank regulators consider anti-money laundering (AML) enforcement one of their top priorities. In recent years, financial institutions have incurred hundreds of millions of dollars in penalties for failing to adequately prevent bad actors from disguising illegally obtained funds as legitimate income.

One leading US bank knew it needed to improve its AML controls to ensure regulatory compliance and to better manage risk. The bank’s first-level review process to identify suspicious entities and activities met compliance standards. However, the bank was concerned that it lacked robust quality assurance for the AML control processes, as evidenced by the low-quality measures and a backlog of 30,000 cases that needed a secondary review. Without a solid AML quality assurance process, the bank risked violating critical regulatory requirements.

Strategy and solution

The bank knew it needed a managed service provider that had a broad understanding of its operations, deep AML advisory expertise, a global network and extensive commercial banking and financial crime capabilities.

Collaboration

Together, the bank’s AML compliance center of excellence and Accenture’s finance and risk experts identified gaps between the bank’s existing AML controls and compliance best practices.

Designing a new Quality Assurance (QA) program

The team designed new quality assurance processes for the AML risk teams and developed new training materials to guide the bank’s operations team during the newly designed QA review process.

Implementing new process

The new processes were brought to life using Accenture’s Compliance as a Service offering (CaaS), which combines expertise, scalability and cost-effective QA capabilities.

Scaling program

Working with the bank’s AML compliance team, Accenture Delivery Centers experts conducted account reviews, performed periodic audits and tracked remediation efforts related to suspicious accounts.

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Tapping into the power of SynOps

As the compliance services have matured, the bank has begun working with Accenture to determine how SynOps—an innovative human-machine operating engine—can be used to accelerate its journey to an intelligent compliance operating model. SynOps will allow the bank to take full advantage of data, applied intelligence, digital technologies and talent to help it efficiently keep pace with regulatory demand and drive sustainable growth. SynOps also enables the reallocation of workforce capacity to focus on higher-skill and higher-value activities, resulting in higher employee engagement, retention and value delivered back to the bank.

Transformation

The bank’s newly fortified AML controls have improved relationships with regulators and trust with customers, who want their banks to be vigilant in identifying questionable financial transactions and activities.

To date, the bank has:

Achieved quality ratings of over 95 percent, up from 80 percent, on AML QA support.

Increased throughput of reviews, thereby preventing a future backlog.

Assisted in the reduction of the existing backlog of quality assurance reviews—completing 18,000 backlogged reviews in just three months.

Managed remediation of 4,000 potential control failures with front-office bank professionals and the bank’s compliance teams.

Reduced its risk of regulatory non-compliance, reputational damage and potential financial crime losses.

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