This summer our project management team gained a new credential: CAMS certification! As we work with more and more KYC teams, we wanted to demonstrate our commitment to the compliance world as well as deepen our ability to deliver for our clients.
Longtime Alacra project manager, Anne Witkowski, became a Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist in July, earning a well deserved leadership place on our Compliance Team. Anne has already led several Alacra Compliance Enterprise implementation projects. We are delighted to have her expertise and we know our clients are benefiting even more.
Recently, I had a chance to interview Anne in between project calls.
JH: What is your role at Alacra?
AW: I am a Project Manager at Alacra focusing primarily on compliance workflow projects.
JH: How long have you worked with compliance workflow tools?
AW: I have been working with Alacra’s compliance workflow tools for 2.5 years.
JH: What motivated you to take the challenging CAMS certification test?
AW: I noticed several of my clients had a ‘CAMS’ credential next to their signature and it led me to do a little research and find out what was involved in getting CAMS certified.
I was a little intimidated after reading the requirements to study and pass the CAMS certification. Did I really want to forego last summer’s hot beach reads to immerse myself in the world of anti-money laundering? I decided to take the AML plunge to better understand the needs of my clients and learn how I could help them deploy an Alacra Compliance workflow tool to most effectively address the challenges they face.
JH: What compliance rule did you learn that was most surprising to you?
AW: The most surprising compliance rule to me was related to statutes within the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) specifically those requiring BSA/AML compliance programs to be written and approved by the board of directors with the following minimum elements:
- A system of internal controls to assure ongoing compliance with the BSA;
- Independent testing for BSA/AML compliance;
- A designated individual or individuals responsible for coordinating and monitoring BSA/AML compliance; and
- Training for appropriate personnel.
While I knew it was important for the board and senior management to establish a general AML compliance culture, I wasn’t aware the board of directors had specific requirements to meet the BSA statutes.
Based upon some recent articles detailing the exorbitant fines paid in 2012 by some of the banks, this seems to be a learning process for everyone!
JH: How have you applied your knowledge to help Alacra’s customers make the most out of their Alacra Enterprise Compliance instance?
AW: The most important way I have been able to able to apply my knowledge and help Alacra’s customers is by effectively communicating the customer needs to the teams developing their applications. Often a client will request a particular feature and sometimes the initial requirement can get lost in translation. Having a better understanding of the customer perspective and the regulations they face allows me to effectively articulate the requirements back to the Alacra development team without the need to go back and forth with the client. This speeds up the overall project time and hopefully delivers the best possible compliance workflow tool.
JH: How do clients perceive you now that you have CAMS?
AW: I’ve had several clients notice my new CAMS credential and offer me congratulations. They are pleased to be working with someone who has demonstrated enough of a commitment to their business to study and earn the CAMS certification. I’ve also had clients tell me they are thinking of taking the CAMS exam and asking my advice for study tips, etc. I am thrilled to be able to offer my new expertise on this subject to my clients.
JH: Is there a recent moment where your CAMS training made the difference for a client?
AW: Since I’ve only had my certification for a little over two months it would be hard to point to any specific ‘moment.’ I feel that the knowledge I’ve acquired studying for the exam has helped improve my overall capacity as a liaison between the client and their requirements and seeing them through the development cycle to deployment.
JH: Will we see you at an ACAMS event soon?
AW: I certainly hope so! I plan to participate in as many ACAMS events as possible. While I successfully achieved my certification I know my compliance education is far from complete. I am excited to be part of the ACAMS community and plan to take advantage of all the opportunities available to meet with my peers and keep abreast of all the ever changing happenings in the compliance arena.
Remember to visit Alacra at ACAMS Las Vegas on September 23-25 to learn more about how Anne and our team can help you manage the KYC process.