The CXO compliance crisis [UK Report]

26 April, 2024
  • C-suite cut costs at expense of compliance as 39% reduce 2024 anti-money laundering budgets, survey reveals
  • Yet majority of C-suite execs are concerned about the financial consequences of non-compliance
  • 3 in 4 feel c-level execs should be held personally accountable for AML compliance

London, UK; 23rd April: Half (49%) of C-suite executives only feel somewhat confident about their company’s anti-money laundering processes. That’s according to our new survey by First AML, the anti-money laundering (AML) scaleup.

The company surveyed 250 C-suite executives to determine the way anti-money laundering is prioritised and executed in UK businesses. It found that almost all (99%) of those surveyed are worried about their company’s ability to be compliant with new and upcoming anti-money laundering regulations. Seventy nine percent are concerned about the financial consequences of non-compliance for their organisation, with 28% extremely concerned.

Although there’s a clear apprehension surrounding non-compliance, it’s worrying that 39% have gone on to decrease their anti-money laundering budgets in 2024 in comparison to 2023. 

The survey also found that 75% of respondents feel that C-suite executives should be held personally accountable for ensuring compliance. Thirty two percent strongly agree.

Bion Behdin, co-founder and CRO at First AML, commented: “The C-suite is worried about compliance, so it’s time to put their money where their mouth is. In fact, when asked whether a strong commitment to compliance impacts the company or firm's reputation in the market, 67% feel it brings a positive impact, and 22% feel it brings a significant positive impact. Given they can see the benefits of compliance, 2024 should be the year that the C-suite prioritises anti-money laundering in their organisations.”

The time for compliance 

Looking to 2024, almost all (99%) of those surveyed have plans to change anti-money laundering processes in 2024. This includes more investment in tech (47%), more investment in people (44%) and more investment in training (42%). However, with budgets tightening, organisations will need to do more with less.

When comparing these stats with a survey First AML conducted back in September 2022, 73% of financial services companies were moving anti-money laundering up the company agenda. Yet, 23% of those surveyed were also considering cutting budgets. With both AML confidence and budgets shrinking, there seems to be a similar outlook in 2024.

Bringing AML to the boardroom

When it comes to discussing AML in their organisation, the majority of C-suite currently discuss anti-money laundering strategies, risks, and processes during board or senior level meetings quarterly (44%), with 31% discussing it bi-annually or less frequently.

On top of this, the majority (49%) receive reports, or have meetings, with their MLRO or compliance officers about compliance quarterly, with 23% only receiving them bi-annually.

“Although it’s positive that AML is being discussed at board level, it’s crucial that these touchpoints are as detailed and frequent as possible,” Behdin continued. “C-suite executives are spinning a lot of plates, and having a clear overview of their company’s AML landscape and response is integral to avoiding fines and reputational damage.”


About First AML

First AML simplifies the entire anti-money laundering onboarding and compliance process. Its SaaS platform, Source, stands out as a leading solution for organisations with complex or international onboarding needs. It provides streamlined collaboration and ensures uniformity in all AML practices.

First AML transforms an otherwise complex and manual process into one that is simple, cost-effective, and compliant for businesses. By delivering efficiency and time savings, it protects reputations and enables companies to stay on the right side of history in the face of global threats.

Keen to find out more? Book a demo today! No time for a long demo? No problem. See what Source by First AML can do for your business in 2 minutes – watch the short demo here.