Stephanie Hacksley 9 Jul 20 9 min read

The way to eat an elephant is not to! But if you have to, start small.

Highlights from the Jade ThirdEye panel discussion at the GRCI AML & Financial Crimes Congress

You may be wondering what financial crime and elephants have in common. Simply put, the task of implementing automated AML software for the first time can be daunting for some businesses. But not if you take it one step at a time!

At the recent GRCI AML & Financial Crimes Congress, team Jade ThirdEye was thrilled to facilitate a lively panel discussion on implementation tips from industry experts.

Hosted by Head of Product at Jade, Ashley Bass, the panellists included:

  • Anne Cox, Compliance Manager at Nelson Building Society who has been working with AML automation software since 2014
  • Aub Chapman, Director of Chapman Consulting who has been advising on financial crime controls since 1991
  • Colin Dixon, Senior Product Manager for Jade ThirdEye who has been working with the product since 2012

In case you missed the session, here are the key takeaways, which had nothing, and everything, to do with eating elephants.

Automate your AML programme one step at a time


If you want to run an efficient, effective AML programme, transitioning to an automated system is a no-brainer.

For a smooth changeover, we recommend you:

  • Investigate how automation can help your business
  • Develop a good idea of how long it will take to implement a new system and how you can prepare 
  • Compare the level of implementation support different vendors offer

Start simple and get started

bench-accounting-xxeAftHHq6E-unsplashWhat's the AML/CFT risk for your business? A good place to start is to compare your risk assessment to the risks your regulator has identified.

For example, if your business is not at risk of terrorism financing, you don't need to monitor for this and clutter your day with unnecessary alerts.   


Keep working on it and make sure it's still working for you

scott-graham-5fNmWej4tAA-unsplashImplementing an automated AML programme is an important first step in the fight against financial crime. But it's not a silver bullet.

To protect your business and community from financial crime, you'll need to adjust your system over time to make sure it keeps working for you in a changing world.


Preparing for automation

Here's a breakdown of a typical implementation process for automating your AML compliance programme. Our discussion focused on transaction monitoring because for many people, this is the cornerstone of their programme and where automation brings value to several reporting entities.   


1 – Plan and evaluate

Do your research on vendors and choose a flexible system, one that can handle law changes over time. Look for a partner, a relationship with a company that’s been around the block. And choose a vendor that's receptive to feedback so you get the product you want.

2 – Prepare

Scope your AML project and get buy-in from your business as well as IT support. For a successful implementation you'll need key stakeholders on board and everyone in lockstep.

3 – Import data

Data quality is key. Without good data you won’t be able to detect money laundering. We recommend you tidy up your data before you implement a new system. 

4 – Set up rules

When you set up your rules, compare the risk factors your regulator has identified with your own risk assessment. This will help you determine which rules you need. Sometimes less is more, so don't run rules you don't need.

5 – Test and go live

Take time to test your rules properly before you go live. We recommend a practice go live session where you run live data through your test system. 

6 – Optimize

Train your staff to use the system properly. There’s no point just buying an AML product. You need to set it up so it works for your business and tweak it over time.

Key takeaways from industry experts


  • Just implementing an automated AML system isn't enough. You need to get your AML programme to work for you. For example, at Jade ThirdEye, people often ask us if we have rules. Do we ever! We have an extensive rules library for you to pick and choose rules from. But you'll get more out of the system if you first scope out your risk profile and then choose the rules you need. Jade ThirdEye also lets you edit your rules and create new ones over time, which means you get a system that fits you to a T. 
  • Because rules are the backbone of a transaction monitoring system, it's important to review your rules often to make sure they’re working optimally for your business. The beauty of a flexible system like Jade ThirdEye is that you can fine-tune it over time to make sure it fits your risk profile and responds to global economic changes. It's also vital to have a system that can respond to the increasing complexity of transaction monitoring.
  • With Covid-19 running riot across the globe and people working in different ways, having 24/7 support available from your vendor is critical.
  • To implement an automated AML system smoothly and successfully, you need engagement from everyone who will be involved with the project – Senior management, IT, and compliance officers. 

In sum, when you implement an automated AML system, start small. It's the only way to eat an elephant.

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