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Great Minds at ACAMS Hollywood

The annual ACAMS Hollywood conference presented a fantastic opportunity to catch up with clients, colleagues and friends.  

On the first night, Sigma hosted a dinner party with attendees spanning senior AML and sanctions practitioners, former regulators, tech companies, law enforcement and professional service providers. The evening sparked insightful conversations on key themes that were prominent throughout the conference itself.

Our Top 4 Insights from ACAMS Hollywood

  1. There's a general desire to move to greater automation and data-led processes across risk and compliance functions. This was true for small and large firms alike. Core needs ranged from speeding up investigations, to simplifying onboarding and ongoing customer risk evaluation, to consolidating KYC processes for efficiency gains. We found increased interest in perpetual KYC, as well as a number of case management approaches offering further automation for investigations and due diligence through AI. 

  2. Legacy approaches and traditional data sources are viewed as insufficient in isolation. The general risk surface is expanding for everyone (and not just regulated financial institutions), requiring a more holistic view of risk using a combination of internal and external data. The capabilities of traditional vendors are now being augmented through entity resolution and graphing techniques that address growing legal and regulatory obligations for export controls, sanctions, forced labor and corruption. 

  3. The rise of accessible AI is on everyone’s mind. Institutions and tech companies continue to explore AI as a means to greater efficiency. The best application for generative AI and other novel approaches (e.g., ChatGPT/Bard) remains unclear. However, many innovative ideas were shared by participants. Some early use cases include automating aspects of a transaction monitoring investigator’s tasks, like writing the SAR narrative or questioning certain behaviors and transactions. 

  4. The rapidly changing sanctions landscape is generally putting pressure on industry. Vigilance needs to keep pace with the rollout of sanctions, including sanctions against Russia which increased to over 2,500 new names since the invasion of Ukraine. Readiness regarding the potential for sanctions vis-a-vis China and/or other challenges that arise from great power conflict were top of mind. 

What Else Was on the Radar at ACAMS Hollywood

Overall, the level of reflection and deep engagement by participants, who were energized by ideas around effectiveness in the fight against financial crime, was tremendous. 


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