Best Practices for AML Compliance Self-Assessments

October 4, 2019

The Bank Secrecy Act requires financial institutions to establish an anti-money laundering (AML) compliance program to prevent and detect financial crime. Failure to institute an effective program can subject an institution to significant regulatory oversight and penalties. AML compliance missteps have caught numerous banks in the United States and abroad flatfooted with inadequate compliance programs, resulting in massive fines and government scrutiny that distracts from core business missions.

Given the importance of AML compliance, financial institutions are increasingly turning to outside experts and consultants to assess the sufficiency of their AML programs. These ad hoc “assisted self-assessments”— often called “gap analyses”—are typically commissioned by chief compliance officers, senior management, or boards of directors either proactively or as a result of an unfavorable internal audit or exam findings, which can give rise to a fear of future enforcement actions. Voluntary self-assessments are important to a sustainable and vigorous AML program, but, if they’re not implemented properly, these voluntary self-assessments can open financial institutions up to serious risk.

In the following article, recently published in the New York Law Journal, Gibson Dunn partner Matthew L. Biben provides an analysis of these risks and six best-practices AML assessment recommendations to assist compliance officers, senior management, and boards of directors in setting up their financial institutions for AML success, while ensuring that they fulfill Bank Secrecy Act obligations to help the government combat financial crime.

Best Practices for AML Compliance Self-Assessments (click on link)

© 2019, New York Law Journal, September 27, 2019, ALM Media Properties. Reprinted with permission.

Gibson Dunn has deep experience with issues relating to the defense of financial institutions, and we have recently increased our financial institutions defense and AML capabilities with the addition to our partnership of Matt Biben, who Co-Chairs the Financial Institutions Practice Group. Matt spent 12 years as a prosecutor before serving for 10 years as a General Counsel and Executive Vice President of two global financial institutions. In private practice, he has extensive experience advising on AML compliance issues, conducting AML investigations, and litigating and negotiating AML related settlements with federal and state bank regulators and prosecutors.

Kendall Day joined Gibson Dunn in May 2018, having spent 15 years as a white collar prosecutor, most recently as an Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General, the highest level of career official in DOJ’s Criminal Division. For his last three years at DOJ, Kendall exercised nationwide supervisory authority over every BSA and money-laundering charge, DPA and NPA involving every type of financial institution. Matt and Kendall joined Stephanie Brooker, a former Director of the Enforcement Division at FinCEN and a former federal prosecutor and Chief of the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, who serves as Co-Chair of the Financial Institutions Practice Group and a member of the White Collar Defense and Investigations Practice Group. Stephanie, Kendall and Matt practice with a Gibson Dunn network of more than 50 former federal prosecutors in domestic and international offices around the globe.

Gibson Dunn’s lawyers are available to assist in addressing any questions you may have regarding these AML developments.  Please contact any member of the Gibson Dunn team:

Matthew L. Biben – New York (+1 212-351-6300, [email protected])
Stephanie Brooker – Washington, D.C. (+1 202-887-3502, [email protected])
M. Kendall Day – Washington, D.C. (+1 202-955-8220, [email protected])

Lee R. Crain, an associate at the firm, assisted in the preparation of the article.

© 2019 Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Attorney Advertising:  The enclosed materials have been prepared for general informational purposes only and are not intended as legal advice.