Our research at Robert Half indicates an increasing need for risk and compliance specialists in anti-money laundering jobs across the finance and accounting profession. It’s a trend fueled by business growth, increasing regulatory demands and government scrutiny of banking corruption and terror activities.

Google the term “money laundering” to see the latest spotlights on this crime, particularly in banking, politics and the online marketplace, and you’ll understand the demand for anti-money laundering jobs.

What is anti-money laundering?

Money laundering, according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, is the process of making illegally gained proceeds appear legal. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimates that as much as $2 trillion in assets are money-laundered every year.

Typically, it involves three steps: placement, layering and integration. First, the illegitimate funds are furtively introduced into the legitimate financial system. Then, the money is moved around to create confusion, sometimes by wiring or transferring through numerous accounts. Finally, it is integrated into the financial system through additional transactions until the “dirty money” appears “clean.”

If you’re interested in anti-money laundering jobs — or hiring for this AML specialty — keep reading for these questions to be answered: What’s the salary range projection for financial crime fighters? Are there recommended anti-money laundering certifications or training? What technical expertise does it take to work in this field?

Job hunting? Check out our open anti-money laundering jobs now.

Salary trends for anti-money laundering jobs

The midpoint starting salary for anti-money laundering specialists working in financial services is projected to be $81,750 in 2019, according to the Robert Half Salary Guide for Accounting and Finance Professionals.

At the midpoint, professionals have average experience with the necessary skills to meet the job requirements, and the role may be in an industry where competition for talent is moderate.

The salaries listed in the Salary Guide are based on actual placements throughout the United States, as well as an analysis of the demand for the role, the supply of talent and other market conditions. Bonuses and benefits are not taken into account. To find out what an anti-money laundering specialist can make in your city, use our Salary Calculator.

Special training and certification

Financial professionals who have the certified anti-money laundering specialist (CAMS) certification will likely earn more than their non-certified peers.

The CAMS credential is offered by ACAMS, the anti-money laundering trade association that oversees the exam. In order to qualify for the exam, you must be a member of ACAMS, which offers training seminars, forums and conferences.

The University of South Florida has joined a growing number of colleges and law schools adding compliance-related graduate-level academic programs. It has a graduate certificate program in compliance, risk and anti-money laundering.

Technical and regulatory compliance requirements

Anti-money laundering analysts must be knowledgeable in forensic accounting, statistical data mining and risk management. Financial institutions are advised to keep pace with regulatory compliance requirements and changes from the USA PATRIOT Act, Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review (CCAR), Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC).

For more information on these regulatory compliance matters, see the Guide to U.S. Anti-Money Laundering Requirements, Frequently Asked Questions from Protiviti, a Robert Half company that is a global business consulting and internal audit firm composed of experts specializing in risk, advisory and transaction services.

Trying to find the right anti-money laundering specialist for your open role? We can help with that too. Learn how.