Recently I had a fog-induced flight delay at one of the Channel Island airports [I’m not being coy for no purpose; I am trying to relate an event without identifying the individual concerned]. It was tedious beyond belief, but the one bright spot was that when I did eventually get a seat on a flight – through a mixture of being nice to the flight dispatchers and weeping piteously – I found myself sitting next to someone very senior in a financial institution.
In the way of people thrown together in adversity we started to chat, and quickly found our common ground – and also shared my emergency bag of Jelly Babies. This person was both interesting and interested, and of course we fell to discussing money laundering. They revealed that, having been delayed at the airport, they had taken the opportunity to do their own institution’s annual online AML training, as required of all staff at all levels in their firm. I expected to hear a complaint about this – after all, few people relish this particular task. But no. Here is what I was told: “Sometimes my colleagues moan about having to do this training, but then I point out to them that almost all of our competitors have had large AML penalties in recent years, splashed all over the newspapers, and we haven’t. That’s a situation we should work to preserve.”
It was heartening to hear, but it has put me to thinking about why we do our AML tasks, and it is something I am going to return to soon – watch this space.