AML Compliance Software: The Big Bucks Behind a Modern ‘Frankenstein’s Monster’


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AML Software: Banks pay a fortune in time and money for ‘Frankenstein’s Monster’

By Frank Cummings, Co-founder and CEO of AML Partners

Do you remember the story of Frankenstein’s monster? Dr. Frankenstein tried to create a usable ‘whole’ from dismembered corpses and twisted tech. If you’ve used typical AML software ‘solutions’ lately, you no doubt understand the metaphor. And you’ve paid handsomely for the privilege of that pain—both in cash and time.

Even though we are well into the 21st Century, most AML Compliance software remains as miserably dysfunctional as Frankenstein’s monster. And while it may fool you from afar, in practice it’s entirely unable to adapt to the complexities of real-world demands. And you’re still paying a small fortune to keep it alive—especially if you are struggling to patch together incompatible tech for your end-to-end AML Compliance and the myriad policies and procedures now required.

In large part, the terror attacks of 9/11/2001 mark the birthday of this particular monster. Consulting firms and enterprise software companies rushed to suck up profits in that particular vacuum, a vacuum where desperate financial institutions had few good options for complying with urgent new regulations.

Most financial institutions have been feeding that broken-down monster ever since—they invest in rigid, cobbled-together AML software that is a chunk of one early application glued onto a different chunk of another early application pasted into yet another ‘solution’ that is dressed up in shiny packaging. That money-sucking hole is then hawked on a click-bait-filled website of a legacy company that relies on name recognition to cover the shortcomings of its actual products.

Skyrocketing costs for AML Compliance worsened by ‘lumbering hard-coded relics’

Ben DiPietro of the Wall Street Journal nailed this issue yesterday in his “Morning Risk Report” in which he lamented “the hidden costs of implementing Compliance.” DiPietro noted that banks are spending so much more on AML Compliance policies and procedures required in the current Compliance environment—but that spending doesn’t even touch the cost of translating those new requirements into actual operations and implementation of system-wide software for AML Compliance. To achieve just an illusion of that—i.e. the monster—financial institutions have to flood additional money into their IT and Operations departments and various external consultants.

Because of that 9/11 urgency and enterprise inertia, financial institutions have saddled themselves with irreparable and archaic AML versions of Frankenstein’s monster. And those legacy vendors in the AML software realm have fed the beast—with promises, and packaging, and with playing the game. Those early players rushed out products that remain lumbering, hard-coded relics that were never intended to adapt to changing regulatory requirements. Their favorite “solutions” to the problems they themselves hard-coded are endless consulting contracts and gimpy patches that are akin to coding voodoo. Not that that ever became a true problem for these software vendors—in fact, they ingeniously capitalized on their own products’ flaws by requiring entirely separate implementation and maintenance agreements that would wring endless millions from Compliance customers pressed continually by more demanding and ever evolving regulatory requirements.

Insist on ‘Comply on the Fly’ Technology

What DiPietro did not address, however, is that there is an entirely new way of systems-thinking in AML Compliance technology, and it’s AML Partners’ way. AML Partners build AML Compliance software anchored by our “Comply on the Fly” motto—from the first line of code, our SURETY AML Compliance software integrates comprehensive configurability. Seriously.

And we deliver all of this in an AML software ecosystem that fully integrates—that’s right, it fully integrates in one system—KYC/CDD, transaction monitoring, and sanctions screening. This single integrated end-to-end software ecosystem is the diametric opposite of Frankenstein’s AML Compliance monster. And we provide full implementation as a part of the software contract—and we fully implement in 30-90 days. No separate implementation. No IBM or Accenture. No ‘oh by the way….’ consulting gotchas. No multimillion dollar migraine that just won’t end. And no patchwork monsters.

With SURETY Eco, our AML software ecosystem, Compliance officers themselves configure—and reconfigure as needed—their data collection, their KYC/CDD questions, their risk models, their transaction monitoring, and their sanctions screening. And each module of the integrated software ecosystem feeds into the other systems—it’s end-to-end AML Compliance in a single package endlessly configurable in-house by Compliance staff.

It’s always interesting to me how hesitant prospective customers are in believing that such a system exists—or even that such an approach exists. Professionals in financial institutions are so numb to the racket—the endless, ineffective, inefficient, and wildly expensive software that breaks down when any new configuration is required. It’s all they’ve known. It’s what they have been conditioned to accept.

We at AML Partners could have gone that direction, as well. That was the norm more than a decade ago when we started building the SURETY AML software line. But to me as a longtime enterprise-tech specialist, that was an impossibly costly approach. Instead of planning to patch broken code every time a regulation or need changed, we embraced an architecture approach founded on flexibility, configurability, and integration. It was the right thing to do for our own bottom line—and for our customers’ needs and bottom lines. And frankly, it was the right thing to do for a world newly rocked by terror attacks in a context of an emerging global economy that opened the world financial system to endless infiltration attempts by criminals.

SURETY Eco and the entire SURETY product line of AML software solutions killed Frankenstein’s monster. Now it’s just a matter of financial institutions realizing that they are betting their high-stakes AML Compliance systems on long-dead corpses of glued-together systems that cost a fortune and still don’t work well.


SURETY Eco, the AML Software Ecosystem

If you’d like to learn more about the revolutionary ‘Comply on the Fly’ options built into SURETY Eco, call us today. Eco’s integration of CDD/KYC, Transaction Monitoring with optional 314a, and Sanctions Screening delivers a seamless integration of end-to-end AML Compliance.