Equally worryingly, further research including our previous surveys showed that many AML professionals are significantly under-estimating how much their work will cost in the future. Far fewer respondents predicted large increases (more than 50 percent) in costs over the subsequent three years than reported this level of increase three years later. With less than one in ten banks expecting an increase of more than 50 percent in AML costs over the next three years, we can only conclude that this over-optimism remains for many.
Where should the focus be on costs?
Most banks are currently more cash-constrained than they have been for decades. There is unlikely to be additional funds available for AML teams who under-estimated the budget they needed, especially with so many other competing areas requiring investment.
With transaction monitoring, reporting to regulators and anti-bribery and corruption seen by many as the top three areas of cost, it is here that both AML teams and boards should focus to ensure they are maximising the return on their investment.