Talking about the shortcomings of the country, the one thing that all of us will agree on is that the country will progress much better if it is free from corruption. The amount of money hoarding or black money that goes about is one of the prime reasons for the nation to have not progressed to its full capability even 72 years after its independence. If the nation is able to free itself from the clutches of corruption, we will get to see a different picture altogether.
However, on a positive note, these days, government organisations and companies are taking conscious efforts to keep a check on all illegal handling of money. It is in the context of this that things like AML and KYC compliance have come into the picture. In order to ensure that the rules are adhered to, there is a need for officers to regulate the same. This creates a new surge of job opportunities in this field.
This article explores the various career opportunities that are available in this field and talks to us about the educational qualifications and other details that are required in order to succeed here.
• What Are AML And KYC?
AML and KYC mean Anti-Money Laundering and Know Your Customer respectively. Broadly, it can be said that verifying the identity of a client can be carried out either directly by the business themselves or by outsourcing the same to a secondary organisation.
The main aim of these compliance measures is to detect and subsequently report any suspicious monetary transactions. Any type of predicate monetary offences including that of supplying money to terrorist organisations, market manipulation, securities fraud and money laundering is under the control of AML.
AML rules are in turn a part of the mandatory Bank Secrecy Act that all financial organisations are bound to follow.
• Who Is An AML/KYC Officer?
These people are the ones who are well versed with the workings of the anti-money laundering procedures and their main job is to ensure that everything that happens within the organisation is in compliance with the same.
Most of these people are employed with private money lending organisations or with nationalised banks. These days, larger firms in the world of consulting, technology and manufacturing require the services of the AML/KYC officers as well.
• Qualifications And Certifications Required
From an educational point of view, the basic qualification that is required here is that of a graduate degree. Although any background in the same is acceptable, those from the commerce stream are given preference. Following their graduation, a candidate needs to have certain ICA certifications. Details of the same are listed here.
ICA Certificate in anti money laundering is the course that is recommended for absolute beginners in the fields. It gives candidates a fair amount of understanding of the core concepts and prepares them to take on the challenges of the more technical courses.
ICA Advanced Certificate in anti money laundering is the course that provides an individual with the skill set that is required to do justice to the role of an AML compliance officer effectively. Most organisations hire officers who have successfully completed this particular course.
ICA Diploma in anti money laundering is an advanced level course that is targeted in order to boost the knowledge base of officers who are already working in this field. Having completed this certification increases one's chances of securing subsequent promotions in this particular field of work.
• Job-specific Skill Set
Although this is a finance-related job, a thorough understanding of certain technological tools is necessary in order to succeed here.
For transaction reporting and monitoring capabilities, the AML, KYC and other compliance software are used by analysts and officers. There are many such software available in the market today and analysts must be well versed in at least a couple of them if they wish to do justice to their jobs.
The more effectively candidates are able to use the risk management software, the better they will be in identifying the potential threats to the organisations they work for.
In order to maintain accounts, client records and make presentations, a thorough knowledge of the different MS Office applications like Word, PowerPoint and Excel is necessary.
The average pay for a compliance officer is Rs 3,66,078 per year. This is for people who have completed the aforementioned certifications. Without the certifications, the salary is a tad bit lower.
On the other hand, experienced candidates are paid much higher sums of money on an annual basis. In this field of work, your geographical location also has a say in the salary you take home.
• Working Conditions
These people deal with paperwork and work under strict office conditions with minimal or no weekend work involved. Since most of the work is desk-based and can be performed on a laptop with a decent Internet connection, many organisations allow their employees to work from home.
For candidates who are working in organisations as a third-party workforce, there may be certain requirements of having to work according to the client's time zones. This would mean having to work during odd shifts in the Indian context.
From the nature of the job, it is evident that the candidates must possess high integrity and self-respect and must be true to themselves. Only such a person will be able to point out anything suspicious that goes on within the organisation, and thereby serve justice to their role as a compliance officer.
However, if you are confident of your sense of values and work ethics and have the required skill set and certifications, there is nothing that can stop you from carving a name for yourself here.