While they would never utter the words “Why bother?” aloud, and even suggesting they might think it is bound to be controversial, frustrated financial services professionals can be excused if they occasionally feel this phrase forming in their minds when thinking about their role in the ongoing battle against money laundering.

After all, the magnitude of this conflict—not to mention the scope of complying with anti-money laundering (AML) regulations—is staggering.

For starters, banks must file a suspicious activity report (SAR) when suspicious activity arises. What qualifies as a suspicion often is a difficult question—as is the determination of whether or not to file a SAR. The filing of too many (and/or incomplete) SARs can overwhelm regulatory agencies, reducing their ability to ...