Banks Fall Short in Money Laundering Staff Expertise

Anti-money laundering compliance is putting serious pressure on banks large and small but in some cases they’re not taking the right measures to control the risk, according to panelists speaking at the Dow Jones Global Compliance Symposium in Washington, D.C. Tuesday.

“The pressure is quite enormous,” said Daniel Boylan, senior vice president and audit director at Bank of America Corp. Josh Burdett, a partner at Financial Crime Partners, which works on compliance issues with smaller banks, said those banks “are feeling the lack of resources and increased pressure.”

The panelists referred to the $1.9 billion fine on HSBC Holdings PLC as a sign of how much more seriously money laundering is now being taken by regulators.

But Mr. Boylan said one of the main causes of banks getting in trouble with money laundering violations was “a lack of technical competence.” Amid a shortage of qualified money laundering specialists, he said some banks had turned to using those who “masquerade as professionals and experts.” He added that it’s “hard to find really good people in the field.”

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