7 tips to keep your currency exchange business anti-money laundering compliant

Money Services Businesses (MSBs) like Bureau de Change, travel agencies and airport retailers are potential targets for money launderers and terrorist financiers. As this has serious implications for your business, keeping up-to-date and fully compliant with Anti Money Laundering (AML) and Anti Terrorist Financing (ATF) legislation is an ongoing operation.

Here are 7 tips that will keep your MSB compliant:

Invest in a computerized record keeping system that is compliant with regulations

If you’re a business still using a manual record-keeping system, you will find it difficult to keep your accounts operational. Currency exchange software can help keep you compliant and has a host of other benefits like stock control, real-time monitoring of profit and loss, and better customer support.

Train your managers on all the regulations for AML and ATF

Keep evidence of your employees’ training in regulatory safeguards, record-keeping and reporting on file. On-the-job training is also excellent for encouraging employee’s to take ownership and responsibility, adding value to their roles and your business.

Put a bespoke AML and ATF compliance program in place and document it

Create a compliance manual that includes KYC (Know Your Customer), KYA (Know Your Agent), KYE (Know Your Employee), systematic record-keeping, automatic sanction-list checks,  risk mitigation, and so on. It should also state your adherence to the 24-hour rule and you sanction list checks each time you deal with recurring clients.

Automate your background checks against all relevant sanction lists

You should update your list on a weekly basis, minimum. Your currency exchange software should ideally have a tool for the automatic live check of customer names against multiple international consolidated watch-lists (sanction lists) such as the SDN list (Specially Designated Nationals) by OFAC (Office of Foreign Asset Control) and the OSFI list (Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions). Manual systems for background checks are no longer acceptable by banks and/or AML auditors.

AML Software

Keep good records for reporting and evidence of suspicious transactions

As an MSB, it’s quite usual to encounter suspicious transactions. You must keep good records and keep all evidence of any suspicious transactions so you can provide it to your bank. All suspicious transactions are reportable to the government; you should keep proof of your STR (Suspicious Transaction Report) on paper and electronic format.

Set up an internal audit program

Schedule an internal audit (or risk-assessment program) to take place at least once a year. Ensure you record your findings. It’s a good idea to include the details of the schedule in your compliance manual. If you have currency exchange software, it collects all transactional information in one place where it can be cross-referenced, and will make your internal audits easier to manage.

Be prepared for an external risk audit

Every two years it will be necessary for you to undergo an external audit. This is usually conducted by expert AML and ATF auditors. One of the best ways to be prepared is to have a computerized record keeping system. Work closely with your external auditor and give them access to all the data they need. If you’ve invested in software with an AML Audit facility, this is much easier.

If you have any doubts about your abilities to meet these requirements, we can recommend trusted compliance consultants who can help you put together a compliance program. The referral is a complementary service to our customers.

 

Jackie Yeadon

Five apps to help you organize your personal finances

Manage income and expenses, pay bills, estimate your taxes, and crunch your mortgage costs, all with the help of these handy apps.

Mobile devices have made managing personal finances a lot easier. Not only has mobile banking become prevalent, but there are also countless apps that can help you to manage your finances. This article examines five such apps.

Note: This article is also available as an image gallery and a video hosted by TechRepublic columnist Tom Merritt.
1: Toshl Finance

Toshl Finance (Figure A) is a fairly simple app that can help you manage your income and expenses and track your spending over time. The app reports on income vs. expenses for various timeframes: yesterday, last month, etc.
Figure A

A couple of things about this app are really helpful. For starters, you can configure it to remind you to enter your data for the day. For instance, you might choose to be reminded every night at 7:00. Another nice feature is automatic currency conversion based on the latest exchange rates –very handy for those who travel.

Toshl Finance is available for iOS, Android, Symbian, and Windows Phone.
2: Money Lover

Money Lover (Figure B) is similar to Toshl Finance, but has a few key differences. Unlike Toshl Finance, Money Lover doesn’t provide reminders or currency conversion. Even so, I actually like Money Lover a little bit better for two reasons.
Figure B

First, Money Lover has an option to be cloud enabled, making it possible to access your data on multiple devices. Second, Money Lover lets you categorize your income and expenses so that you can easily see where you are making the most money and where you are spending the most money. For example, you can categorize an expense as food, entertainment, or travel.

Money Lover is available on iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.
3: Prism (formerly Mobilligy)

Prism (Figure C) is a free bill-paying app for your mobile device. Even though most banks seem to offer online bill pay, there is something to be said for having a dedicated app. For one thing, the app is specifically formatted for mobile devices. My bank’s bill pay feature is nearly unusable on a mobile device because of the screen layout. Prism, on the other hand, uses a clean interface that is specifically formatted for mobile device use. I also like the fact that Prism is available on a variety of platforms, thereby ensuring a consistent experience across devices.

Prism is available for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Windows 8, and Kindle Fire.

Read More

Foreign Exchange Computer System

When you are involved in the business of foreign money exchange or the wholesaling of currency, you need a quality foreign exchange computer system with advanced features that are easy to use.  While there are a wide variety of choices available on the market, not all Foreign Exchange systems are created equally.  You will need to sift through all of your options, narrow down the selection list, and ultimately choose the exchange system with the capabilities that will help you maximize the profits of your clients and those of your own, as a money exchanger.  Here are some of the features to look for as you compare trading software tailored to trade in the Foreign Exchange market:

Full-featured Customer Relationship Management Capabilities

You should not have to deal with multiple systems to trade and then also manage your customer base.  If you are in business to gain new clients and retain the clients you currently have, being focused on customer relationship management is extremely important.  By choosing a Foreign Exchange computer system with an integrated CRM system, you can stay in contact, update customer data, and strengthen your relationships without having to rely on more than one business system.

Record Keeping and Accounting Features

You will need to keep track of every trade that is made, and the foreign exchange computer system that you use for trading, needs to manage trades in real-time.  The tracking system should keep a record of the Forex trades, the wires, the deliveries, futures, and rate bookings.  The best systems should also have multi-currency, double-entry accounting features so that everything is entered into the appropriate fields without needing to visit different sections of the program.  With an End of Day reconciliation feature, cash control and creating financial statements will become much easier and less time-consuming.  Many systems even have a rule-based fee scale, so that you can set up your own fee structure and the structure will automatically calculate fees and enter this into your Accounts Receivables.

If you are looking for a sophisticated foreign exchange computer system that is designed to meet all the needs of money exchangers and money service businesses, CurrencyXchanger is a great system that will automate your operations.  With advanced features like the currency calculator, the currency rate updater, the currency booking and automatic recovery features, you can streamline your operations as a whole.  This system also includes record keeping, a CRM, and many other accounting features built right in;  CurrencyXchanger is the only all-in-one solution.

CurrencyXchanger Version 3.915

Latest version of  CurrencyXchanger.

Fixes

Renaming an account Id had a bug introduced in version 3.750

Improvements

Added a ‘rename account’ feature in the Admin menu, can be used to merge accounts.

Added a disclaimer on the KYC report mentioning that all sanction list checks are done by CurrencyXchanger.

Export to globalware is revamped and fixed.

Merge customers is improved with a customer picker dialog.

Currency Xchanger Update

Currency Xchanger Update Version 3.9

Added a new checkbox in all listbox forms to continue searching within the last result of having the effect of the ‘AND’ logic when searching consecutively

Audit query editor now filters accounts and “@” can be used as a wildcard.

Account reconciliation has many new features: the speed has improved, three new buttons added,can hide already reconciled rows as well as hide unreconciled rows.

Added sum of unrealized gain for each account in the subledger listbox.

Revamped the subledger view form (when double clicking an account) and added unrealized gains column.

Added the invoice printable notes to the invoice listbox form which can now be exported to HTML as well.

The denominations Log module is improved by adding filters for date range, currency, and denomination (new filters added to the form).

Bug fixed: The client preferences window resize problem (buttons didn’t move correctly).

Bug fixed:  Display issue where the date range window would hide behind the front window.

Bug fixed: Syntax error issue when printing using thermal_receipt print formal (bug introduced in version 3.800).

Bug fixed: The sub-ledger view ‘Export button’ didn’t work; replaced with an  EXPORT to HTML button.

Bug fixed: Fixed a bug in the Audit query editor where it didn’t filter account IDs properly (major fix)

CurrencyXchanger Update

New CurrencyXchanger Updated Version

Highlights

• Version 3.850 – 
• improved the customer view by adding a new tab (registers transactions)
• streamlined the customer view form by cleaning the fields
• added new buttons to customer view tabs to Create, Edit, Print, Export to HTML
• fixed a bug introduced a couple of version ago when clicking on the customer’s account tab would give an error
• fixed double clicking on invoices, registers, and cheques, and bookings, emessages, links,  in the customer view form
• revamped the customer listbox: separated first and last name, company name, and added unicode so that customer can be sorted by last  name
• major: eWire module upgraded to listbox
• major: links module upgraded ot listbox
• major: updated the wire template module to listbox
• major: updated the callogs to listbox
• major: update the eMessage to listbox
• fixed search inside calllogs (didn’t work)
• fixed the branch ID for calllogs
• added a new toolbar form
• now customer related listboxes (inside the view form) can be printed and also exported to HTML
Changes in version 3.800
• – modules now open one window only even if you click multiple times on them (just like in the early versions)
  • accounts now has a new checkbox for omitting in the positions report (not implemented at the report level)
  • unrealized gain field added to registers to see how much unrealized profit is there, also in the invoice
  • the edit buttons are now handled via transactions (with support for multi-level transactions)
  • currencies update should update the date and time stamp
  • if warn for negative inventory is clicked, the system won’t allow short-selling
  • the wire forms have been updated to include wire reference and reason for transaction
  • the wire template is now properly mapping reason for transactions
  • added city, state, zip, country to wire forms to be consistent with FINTRAC requirements (but need to add the fields to forms)
  • cash transactions now can be edited without entering denominations entry
  • created a new report for printing KYC page on a customer
  • support password and designer password changed
  • windows now remember their last positions and size
  • export of accounts (subledger) can now properly display the name of accounts (bug introduced when the subled-ger became hierarchical)
  • can now display the subledger accounts in hierarchical or non-hierarchical
  • a new checkbox in the currencies preventing shortselling
  • Main Ledger accounts listbox implemented
  • export for globalware accounting software added –
  • each branch will print their own address on the receipt instead of the main address and phone
  • wire beneficiary name now gets cross checked with sanction watchlist (OFAC or OSFI)
  • bug fix: risk rating in customer’s profile remembers the settings
  • updated the wire template to include separate beneficiary address, city, state, zip
  • update the pay wire form full address
  • added a new position report with a query by example search
  • added a new position report button in the compliance query editor
  • spot rate can now be correctly adjusted by percentage or by offset
  • fixed a bug where the edit was unloading the record.
  • added a universal search area to all new listbox forms (customers, ledger, subledger, currencies, bookings, etc)

CurrencyXchanger Updates

Search Methods for OFAC entries has been improved, some of the new features include:
Insensitivity to Punctuation
Insensitivity to Non-English name conversion
Ability to find similar-sound entries when the exact match is not available
Clear View Systems Ltd. is continually working on improving the CurrencyXchanger software and will keep you updated on any new developments.