Compliance and all that it entails has been gaining plenty of prominence during recent times. As a result, we’ve seen an upsurge in the number of compliance-related certification and training programs. Professionals in all wakes of life, including the financial services sector, have been looking into these programs to either start a career in the compliance world or refine their skills to help their companies better meet their regulatory obligations.

Obviously, these compliance certifications and training programs come in all shapes, sizes and colours. Some are very specific, focusing on distinct topics such as anti-money laundering (AML) or customer due diligence (CDD) and Know Your Client (KYC), while others take a more macro approach, broaching compliance as a whole.

With this in mind, below you will find a quick summary of some of the main compliance certificates and training programs out there.

Feel free to review them and take your pick depending on what you’re looking to accomplish or are interested in.


Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS)

The Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS) is currently one of the largest international organizations dedicated to the battle against financial crime.

With members in more than 175 countries, ACAMS has set itself up as an important certification and networking platform that offers its members with continuing professional education opportunities at all levels and support when it comes to developing and improving their companies’ anti-financial crime capabilities.

The organization’s two main certification programs, which it considers the gold standards for the industry, are:

Some of these programs’ main advantages include: their availability in a wide range of languages; online study materials such as a guide and flashcards, and; ample opportunities for continuing professional education once certified.

Keep in mind that you must first be an ACAMS member and have the equivalent of 40 ACAMS credits to apply for these programs and get certified by the organization.


International Governance & Compliance Association (IGCA)

A newcomer of sorts, the International Governance & Compliance Association (IGCA) was founded in 2020 as an international accreditation and certification institution that also moonlights as a networking platform for professionals in the Compliance, Risk, Cybersecurity and Governance (GRCC) world.

Among its many objectives, IGCA looks to make it easy for individuals in this sector to exchange ideas and experiences while promoting compliance in the financial services across jurisdictions.

Currently, IGCA offers three certifications of note:

Some of the benefits offered by these internationally recognized programs include: a one-year free membership to IGCA; training, support, examination and certification, and; self-paced interactive learning that relies heavily on real-life case studies.

These are also some of the most affordable programs out in the market without compromising on quality and scope.


International Compliance Association (ICA)

Founded 20 years ago and boasting of 150 thousand members in more than 150 countries, the International Compliance Association (ICA) has established itself as one of the more important compliance-themed organizations worldwide.

Its main goal is to help the international compliance community improve its overall performance, conduct business in an ethical manner, and exchange opinions and ideas on what’s trending in the field.

ICA has a wide array of certification programs available to professionals in the field. For the purpose of brevity, we’ll not list all of those included but here are some of the main ones:

Advantages include: the certificate is awarded in conjunction with the Alliance Manchester Business School of the University of Manchester; different levels of specialization depending on your interests and needs, and; certificates are available as apprenticeships for those who want to learn while working.


Association of Certified Financial Crime Specialists (ACFCS)

Established by a group of lawyers, law enforcement officers, regulators, bankers and other financial experts, the Association of Certified Financial Crime Specialists (ACFCS) has transformed itself into an organization that took AML certification programs a step further, incorporating a wide array of other highly relevant financial crime topics into its trainings.

Individuals certified by the ACFCS also acquire knowledge on cybersecurity, fraud, bribery, corruption, tax evasion, sanctions, terrorist financing, asset recovery, and cryptocurrency crimes, to name a few.

Its main certification program, which has reached over 80 countries and jurisdictions, is:

Compared to other programs, one of its main advantages is its holistic approach to AML, focusing on a variety of issues pertinent to the prevention of financial crimes. This training provides a bridge between professionals with different areas of expertise such as law enforcement, regulatory compliance, risk managers, etc.


Other Alternatives

Other options are available if the ones previewed above are not of your liking. These include:

In any case, whatever you decide to do, there are plenty of options out there and you’ll undoubtedly find one that caters to your budget, area of focus and delivery method.

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