Pay Rising for Financial Crime Specialists, Survey Says

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By Chris Bruce

Sept. 18 — Median compensation for anti-money laundering (AML) and financial crime specialists rose 8 percent from 2013 to 2014, according to a new survey by the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS).

Specialists focused on investing and brokerage had the highest median total compensation at $85,145, which translates into a 9 percent boost in pay between 2013 and 2014, according to survey results released Sept. 17.

Overall, consultants had the highest growth in base pay, registering a 12 percent increase over the same period.

The survey, based on roughly 4,600 respondents, said battling money laundering, terrorist financing and other crime is becoming a lucrative career choice.

“As financial crimes and the criminals behind them become increasingly more sophisticated and creative in their tactics, it’s crucial that banks and financial institutions hire skilled and highly educated professionals,” ACAMS Executive Vice President John J. Byrne said in a statement.

According to ACAMS, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that money laundering involves as much as $2 trillion each year.

The survey results are based on responses from compliance professionals around the globe.

According to ACAMS, roughly 56 percent of respondents called the U.S. their primary workplace, while the remaining 44 percent are based in large part in Europe, Canada and Asia.

ACAMS-certified specialists reported compensation nearly 42 percent higher than their non-certified colleagues, according to the survey. It said the median total compensation for respondents certified by ACAMS came to $85,000, compared to $60,000 for their non-certified counterparts.

“The education and training these professionals receive through our certification process—and the continuing education they receive post-certification—equips them with the most up-to-date knowledge available for seeking out and stopping financial crimes,” Byrne said. “Clearly, employers agree and are willing to pay a premium for this education.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Chris Bruce in Washington at cbruce@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Seth Stern at sstern@bna.com

The survey is at http://op.bna.com/bar.nsf/r?Open=cbre-a2gg6p.