60 Free CAMS Exam Frequently Tested Concepts You Need To Know

#51 Is Often Omitted By Candidates


In this article, we summarize 60 concepts that are frequently tested in CAMS examination. These free tips worth pay special attention to as they are statistically proven to be tested frequently.


How does money laundering affect anything?

Money laundering is basically taking the earnings from criminal activities and disguising their illegal sources through “legal operations” in order to use the funds to do more legal or illegal activities. When such an occurrence happens frequently, it can cause a potential undermining of the legitimate private sector and also the weakening financial institutions which would lead to a major economic crisis in any multiple countries.


Why is money laundering considered illegal?

Money laundering exists mainly because when a criminal has generated substantial profits, the individual or group involved must find a way to use the funds without drawing attention to the underlying activity or persons involved in generating such profits. And as such, it is very crucial to ensure that there should be a task force to prevent or capture any of such illicit actions.


Why does there exist a Financial Action Task Force (FATF)?

Comprising from the Group of Seven industrialized nations, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) formed in 1989, is an inter-governmental body that set standards and foster international action against money laundering. That FATF demonstrates that money laundering can be achieved through virtually every medium, financial institution or business.


How does the United Nations 2000 Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime define money laundering?

The United Nations 2000 Convention Against Transnational Organized crime define money laundering as

  1. The conversion or transfer of property, knowing it is derived from a criminal offense, for the purpose of concealing or disguising its illicit origin or of assisting any person who is involved in the commission of the crime to evade the legal consequences of his or her actions.
  2.  The concealment of the true nature, source, location, disposition, movement, rights with respect to, or ownership of property knowing that it is derived from a criminal offense.
  3. The acquisition, possession or use of property, knowing at the time of its receipt that it was derived from a criminal offense or from participation in a crime


What are the three stages of the Money Laundering Cycle?

The three stages of the Money Laundering Cycle are Placement, Layering, and Integration.


What are some of the examples of the “Placement” stage in the Money Laundering Cycle?

Examples of the “Placement” stage would include the mixing of  illegitimate funds with legitimate funds such as placing the cash from illegal narcotics sales into cash-intensive locally owned grocery stores, the acquisition of foreign exchange with illegal funds, the depositing small amounts if cash into numerous bank accounts to avoid reporting requirements, and the paying back of loans with the use of laundered cash


What are some of the examples of the “Layering” stage in the Money Laundering Cycle?

Examples of the “Layering” stage would include the moving funds from one financial institution to another or within accounts at the same institution, as well as the usage of shell companies to obscure the ultimate beneficial owner and assets. Other examples also include the reselling of high-value goods and prepaid access/stored value product and placing money in stocks, bonds or life insurance products.


What are some of the examples of the “Integration” stage in the Money Laundering Cycle?

Examples of the “Integration” stage would include purchasing luxury assets like property, artwork, jewelry or high end automobiles and getting into financial arrangements or other ventures where investments can be made in business enterprises.


What could be the potential macroeconomic consequences of unchecked money laundering?

The potential macroeconomic consequences of unchecked money laundering include a vast number of variables such as the increased exposure to organized crime and corruption, the undermining of legitimate private sector, the weakening financial institutions, the dampening of foreign investments, the distortion of economic stability, the loss of tax revenue, and the Reputation risk for the country etc.


What are the adverse consequences of money laundering in relation to the reputational, operational, legal, and concentration risks?

Some of the adverse consequences of money laundering would include the loss of profitable business, liquidity problems through the withdrawal of funds, termination of correspondent banking facilities, investigation costs and fines, asset seizures, loan losses, and the reduced stock value of financial institutions.


Does the Yates Memo in any way, shape, or form provide protection to individuals from criminal or civil liability?

The Yates Memo reminds prosecutors that criminal and civil investigations into corporate misconduct should also focus on individuals who perpetrated the wrongdoing. Also, it states that any resolution of a corporate case would not provide protection to individuals from criminal or civil liability. While it is true that the Yates Memo does not particularly address AML/CFT compliance; the recent enforcement actions provided by US regulators against financial institutions illustrate a continued focus on AML/CFT compliance deficiencies.


How many various commercial channels could illicit money be moved through?

There are numerous different commercial channels that illicit money can travel through. That includes products such as checking, savings and brokerage accounts, loans, wire and transfers, or through financial intermediaries such as trusts and company service providers, securities dealers, banks and money services businesses.


What would be considered as one of the fastest ways to move large amounts of money from one place to another in an instant?

An electronic transfer of funds can happen within a country or across borders, and trillions of dollars are transferred in millions of transactions each day as it is one of the fastest ways to move money.


How are illicit funds able to be transferred easily with little or no attention?

Illicit fund transfers can be easily hidden among the millions of legitimate transfers that occur each day thanks to the various amounts of systems like the Federal Reserve Wire Network (Fedwire), the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) and the Clearing House Interbank Payments System (CHIPS) which are able to move millions of wires or transfer messages daily.


How do you identify money launderers in using the electronic transfer of funds?

There are various indications of illicit money laundering through the usage of electronic transfers of funds. Some examples would include funds transfers that occur to or from a financial secrecy haven, or to or from a high-risk geographic location without an apparent business reason, or when the activity is inconsistent with
the customer’s business or history. Another variable would be the many small, incoming transfers of funds that are received or deposits that are made using
checks and money orders. Upon credit to the account, all or most of the transfers or deposits are wired to another account in a different geographic location in a manner inconsistent with the customer’s business or history.


How can money launderers take advantage of the remote deposit capture?

Since the Remote Deposit Capture (RDC) is a product offered by banks that provides its customers with the convenience of not having to make a trip to the bank or an ATM to deposit checks. Money launderers can abuse this feature by setting up multiple imaging devices to enable them to allow others to process checks through the system.


How can correspondent banking be vulnerable to money laundering?

Correspondent banking can be vulnerable to money laundering in their function because they create a situation in which a financial institution carries out financial transactions on behalf of customers of another institution. With this kind of business model, the correspondent bank provides services for individuals or entities for which it has neither verified the identities nor obtained any first-hand knowledge.  Since they process large volumes of transactions for their customers’ customers. This makes it more difficult to identify suspect transactions because the financial institution normally does not have sufficient information on the actual individuals who are conducting the transactions.


Payable Through Accounts (PTA) are able to have how many sub-account holders?

PTAs can have a virtually unlimited number of sub-account holders, including individuals, commercial businesses, finance companies, exchange houses or casas de cambio, and even other foreign banks.


How are the elements of a Payable Through Accounts (PTA) able to threaten the correspondent bank’s money laundering defenses?

Some of the elements of a PTA relationship that can potentially threaten the correspondent bank’s money laundering defenses include would include the foreign institutions licensed in offshore financial service centers with weak or nascent bank supervision and licensing laws. Other areas would also include the PTA arrangements where the correspondent bank regards the respondent bank as its sole customer and fails to apply its Customer Due Diligence policies and procedures to the customers of the respondent bank.


What are the types of policies, procedures, and processes should banks be implementing in relation to concentration accounts?

The policies, procedures, and processes of concentration account should cover operations and recordkeeping for these accounts in prohibiting direct customer access to concentration accounts, capturing customer transactions in the customer’s account statements, prohibiting customers’ knowledge of concentration accounts or their ability to direct employees to conduct transactions through the accounts, retaining appropriate transaction and customer identifying information, reconciling accounts frequently by an individual who is independent from the transactions., establishing a timely discrepancy resolution process, and identifying and monitoring recurring customer names.


Are there any possible methods for detecting microstructuring?

Some of the possible ways to detect microstructuring would include the use of counter deposit slips and the frequency of any activity in an account immediately after the opening of the account with only preliminary and incomplete documentation. Other ways to detect would also be the cash deposits followed by ATM withdrawals, particularly in higher-risk countries and those made into business accounts by third parties with no apparent connection to the company.


Do credit union have any clients or customers?

Generally speaking, credit unions do not have any clients or customers; however, they instead have members who are also owners. Credit unions serve only the financial needs of their members and are governed by a “one member, one vote” philosophy.


Is the credit card industry only limited to issuing banks and credit card associations?

While most people would understand that both credit card associations such as MasterCard and Visa, and issuing banks are the most common within the credit card industry; there are others as well such as the Acquiring banks, which process transactions for merchants who accept credit cards and Third-party payment processors (TPPP), which contract with issuing or acquiring banks to provide payment processing services to merchants and other business entities.


Are there any risks posed by the Third-Party Payment Process(TPPP)?

The risks that can be posed by the TPPP would definitely be high in regards to money laundering as criminals can use it to hide transactions and launder their proceeds of crime. They could also hinder a financial institution’s ability to see the entire customer relationship as the TPPP may maintain relationships at multiple institutions.


What are some of the vulnerabilities in the insurance sector?

Certain insurance policies operate in the same manner as unit trusts or mutual funds. Which would mean that the customer can over-fund the policy and transfer their funds into and out of the policy while paying early withdrawal penalties. And as such, the funds would be reimbursed by the insurance company and the launderer would have successfully obscured the link between the crime and the generated funds.

Another possible scenario would be when the launderer purchases a policy with illicit money and then tells the insurance company that he/she has changed his/her mind and does not need the policy. After paying a penalty, the launderer redeems the policy and receives a clean check from a respected insurer which would incur an obscured link between the crime and the generated funds.


When a company assesses laundering and terrorist financing risks, does it need to consider any permits for the customer?

Generally speaking, most if not all company that assesses laundering and terrorist financing risks, they should consider some of the variable permits on whether the customers use cash or cash equivalents to purchase insurance products, whether they have purchased an insurance product with a single premium or lump-sum payment, and if they had borrowed money against an insurance product’s value.


What are some of the plausible aspects of the securities industry that could potentially increase its exposure to laundering?

When it comes to the securities industry, there is no denying that it would provide various opportunities to anonymously participate in money laundering and terrorist financing. Some of the potential aspects that makes it plausible for these activities is the ease of conversion of holdings to cash without significant loss of principal and also the competitive, commission-driven environment, which, like private banking, provides ample incentive to disregard the source of client funds. In the securities industry, they do not have strong AML programs and therefore, does not an effective customer due diligence (CDD), suspicious activity monitoring, or other controls.


Are there any other areas in the securities industry that presents the greatest money laundering vulnerabilities?

According to the 2009 FATF Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing in the Securities Sector typologies report, the various vulnerabilities for such industry would include the wholesale markets, unregulated funds, wealth management, investment funds, bearer securities, and the bills of exchange.


What has the FATF identified in relation to suspicious indicators within the global securities markets?

FATF has identified a number of suspicious indicators within the global securities markets. Those particularly relevant to the securities sector would be when the customer with a significant history with the securities firm who abruptly liquidates all of his or her assets in order to remove wealth from the jurisdiction, and when the customer opens an account or purchases a product without regard to loss, commissions or other costs associated with that account or product, including with early cancellations of long-term securities.

Other possibilities would be when the securities account is used for payments or outgoing wires with little or no securities activities and transactions where one party purchases securities at a high price and then sell them at a considerable loss to another party. This may be indicative of transferring value from one party to another.


How could money laundering occur in travel agencies?

Money laundering can occur in travel agencies when a customer purchases an expensive airline ticket for another person who then asks for a refund. When structuring wire transfers in small amounts to avoid recordkeeping requirements, especially when the wires are from foreign countries, and also if an established tour operator networks with false bookings and documentation to justify significant payments from foreign travel groups.


What are some of the functions that have been provided by lawyers, notaries, accountants, and other professionals that can be most useful to potential money launderers?

The FATF has stated in its 2013 typology report that the functions provided by the aforementioned could be considered useful for any potential money launderers are the creating and managing corporate vehicles or other complex legal arrangements,  the buying and selling of properties which serves as either the cover for transfers of illegal
funds (layering stage) or the final investment of proceeds after they pass through the initial laundering process (integration stage).


What are vehicles that could be used to launder illicit funds?

Commodity futures and options accounts such as commodities, commodity pool, futures/futures contracts, omnibus accounts, and ptions/options contracts are all possible vehicles that can be used in laundering illicit accounts.


What are some of the ways the investment and commodity industry are susceptible to money laundering?

The withdrawal of assets through transfers to unrelated accounts or to high-risk countries, as well as frequent additions to or withdrawals from accounts are possible meants of money laundering. Others would also include things such as  checks drawn on, or wire transfers from, accounts of third parties with no relation to the client and  clients who request custodial arrangements that allow them to remain anonymous of the transfers of funds to the adviser for management followed by transfers to accounts at other institutions in a layering scheme.


What are some of the ways money launderers could use trust and company service providers to do their illegal practices?

In the 2010 FATF report, “Money Laundering Using Trust and Company Service Providers.” It shows the vulnerabilities and red flags for this industry including the  unknown or inconsistent application of regulatory guidelines regarding identification and reporting requirements,  the limited market restriction on practitioners to ensure adequate skills, competence and integrity, and also the inconsistent recordkeeping across the industry are all factors that money launderers can use to do their illicit money laundering.


What are some of the potential indicators of money laundering that happens in trust and company service providers?

In the world of the trust and company service, some of the indicators of money laundering would include transactions that require the use of complex and opaque legal entities and arrangements, the use of TCSPs in jurisdictions that do not require TCSPs to capture, retain, or submit to competent authorities information on the beneficial ownership of corporate structures formed by them and the use of legal persons or legal arrangements that operate in jurisdictions with secrecy laws to just name a few.

Other important factors to take note would be that they can have multiple intercompany loan transactions or multijurisdictional wire transfers that have no apparent or legal purpose, which is something that should cause a red flag in the industry.


What could be some of the possible money laundering methods that involve real estate in Australia?

The common money laundering methods involving real estate  in Australia would include the use of third party straw buyers described as “cleanskins,” the use of loans and mortgages as a cover for laundering, which may involve lump sum cash repayments to integrate illicit funds into the economy, and also the manipulation of property values to disguise undisclosed cash payments through over- or under-valuing or “flipping” through successive sales to increase value.

Other methods would also include the structuring of cash deposits used for the purchase, generation of rental income to legitimize illicit funds, conducting criminal activity, such as the production of cannabis or synthetic drugs, at the purchased property, and the use of illicit cash to make property improvements to increase the value and profits at sale.


What are some of the vulnerabilities that could be considered as weaknesses in the Free Trade Zones (FTZs)?

According to FATF’s March 2010 Report on the Money Laundering Vulnerabilities in Free Trade Zones, systemic weaknesses for FTZs include inadequate AML/CFT safeguards, the minimal oversight by local authorities, weak procedures to inspect goods and legal entities, including appropriate record-keeping and
information technology systems, and the lack of cooperation between FTZs and local customs authorities.


Is the objective of Recommendation 8 just to ensure that Non-Profit Organizations(NPOs) are not abused by terrorist organizations posing as legitimate entities?

In general,  the objective of Recommendation 8 is to ensure that NPOs are not abused by NOT only terrorist organizations posing as legitimate entities; but also the exploitation of legitimate entities as conduits for terrorist financing, and also the concealment or obscuring the clandestine diversion of funds intended for legitimate purposes to terrorist organizations.


Are there any vulnerabilities with charities or non-profit organizations in relation to the misuse of the operations for terrorist financing?

Charities or non-profit organizations have the following characteristics that are particularly vulnerable to misuse for terrorist financing such as the ability to get public trust, but they also have access to considerable sources of funds. With the organization mostly being cash-intensive, is it easier to stay hidden with which funds are illicit, and the frequency of having a global presence, it is often in or next to areas exposed to terrorist activity.


What are the objectives of Recommendation 8 for NPOs?

The objective of Recommendation 8 is to ensure that NPOs are not abused by terrorist organizations posing as legitimate entities, as well as the exploitation of legitimate entities as conduits for terrorist financing. Also, to ensure that there is no concealing or obscuring of the clandestine diversion of funds intended for legitimate purposes to terrorist organizations.


Has the IMF and the World Bank in any way, shape, or form been able to take action against money laundering?

The IMFC, along with the IMF and the World Bank, issued, “Financial System Abuse, Financial Crime and Money Laundering,” in February 2001. Since then, they have been more active in combating money laundering by concentrating on money laundering over other forms of financial abuse, help strengthen financial supervision and regulation in countries, and have been closely interacting with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision.


The due diligence program should address what kind of measures?

Sect ion 312: Correspondent and Private Banking Accounts ( 31 U.S.C. 5318( i) ), the due diligence program must address three measures: Firstly, to determine whether enhanced due diligence is necessary. Secondly, assessing the money laundering risk presented by the correspondent account and thirdly, applying risk-based procedures and controls reasonably designed to detect and report suspected money laundering.


Pursuant to the implementing regulation, enhanced due diligence procedures should be implemented to a correspondent account established for a foreign bank operating under?

Pursuant to the implementing regulation, enhanced due diligence procedures must be applied to a correspondent account established for a foreign bank operating under an offshore banking license, a license issued by a foreign country designated as non-cooperative by an international organization, with which designation the Treasury Secretary agrees, and a license issued by a foreign country that has been designated by the US Secretary of the Treasury as warranting special measures pursuant to Section 311 of the USA PATRIOT Act.


What should the US institutions do to covered private banking accounts?

For covered private banking accounts, US institutions must take reasonable steps to ascertain the identity of all nominal and beneficial owners of the accounts, whether any such owner is a “senior foreign political figure,” and the source of the funds in the account and the purpose and expected use of the account.


Would Section 319( b) : Records relating to Correspondent Accounts for Foreign Banks ( 31 U.S.C.5318( k) be used to permits the US government to seize funds in the same amount from a correspondent bank account in the US that has been opened and maintained for the foreign bank.?

Forfeiture from US Correspondent Account ( 18 U.S.C. 981( k), while the Section 319( b) : Records relating to Correspondent Accounts for Foreign Banks ( 31 U.S.C. 5318( k) . Allows the appropriate federal banking agency to require a financial institution to produce within 120 hours (five days) records or information related to the institution’s AML compliance or related to a customer of the institution or any account opened, maintained, administered or managed in the US by the financial institution.


Why would the majority of governments around the world believe that the risk-based approach is preferable in the area of AML/CFT?

The majority of governments around the world believe that the risk-based approach is preferable to a more prescriptive approach in the area of AML/CFT because it is more, flexible, effective, and proportionate.


What would the FATF recommend in relation to assessing risks?

When assessing risk, FATF recommends considering, customer risk factors such as non-resident customers, cash-intensive businesses, complex ownership structure of a company, and companies with bearer shares. Also the country or geographic risks such as countries with inadequate AML/CFT systems, countries subject to sanctions or embargos, countries involved with funding or supporting of terrorist activities, or those with significant levels of corruption. And lastly, the product, service, transaction or delivery channel risk factors such as private banking, anonymous transactions, and payments received from unknown third parties.)


How many categories are there in AML/CFT risks?

AML/CFT risk categories can be broken down into four levels, from Low Risk, Medium Risk, High Risk, and Prohibited in the order.


A financial institution should develop a transaction history with customers based on what kind of risks?

When it comes to the risk rating of customers, every financial institution should develop transaction history with customers in relation to the risks of the customer. Which specifically based on the unusual activity, such as alerts, cases and suspicious transaction report (STR) filings. Other considerations should also include the receipt of law enforcement inquiries, such as subpoenas and as well as transactions that violate economic sanctions programs.


Supervisory authorities in various countries have stated that some types of customers are inherently high risk for money laundering such as?

Supervisory authorities in various countries have stated that some types of customers are inherently high risk for money laundering. They include the banks, casinos, embassies, virtual currency exchanges, travel agencies, jewel, gem, precious metals dealers, and cash-intensive businesses (restaurants, retail stores, parking) etc.


Should the AML/CFT program address a system of internal policies, procedures and controls?

While yes, the AML/CFT program address a system of internal policies, procedures and controls, which is only the first line of defense. It should also include a designated compliance function with a compliance officer (second line of defense), an ongoing training program, and as well as an ndependent audit function to test the overall effectiveness of the AML program (third line of defense).


Why should there be policies, procedures, and controls for an AML/CFT program?

The establishment and continual development of a financial institution’s policies, procedures, and controls are foundational to a successful AML/CFT program. Together, these three parts define and support the entire AML/CFT program, while at the same time, act as a blueprint that outlines how an institution is fulfilling its regulatory requirements.


Are the internal AML/CFT policies established only by executive management?

While the internal AML/CFT policies should be established and approved by executive management, it should also be approved by the board of directors, and should set the tone for the organization.  The organization serves as the basis for procedures and controls that provide details as to how lines of business will achieve compliance with laws and regulations, as well as with the organization’s AML/CFT policies.


Should AML policies, procedures, and controls institution inform the board of directors and senior management of compliance initiatives?

Generally speaking, the institution should not only inform the board of directors senior management of compliance initiatives but also known compliance deficiencies, suspicious transaction reports filed and corrective actions taken. Besides that, they should also inform high-risk operations provide for periodic updates to the institution’s risk profile, and also develop and maintain a system of metrics reporting that provides accurate and timely information on the status of the AML/CFT program, including statistics on key elements of the program.


Who should be responsible for appointing a qualified individual as an institution’s
AML/CFT Compliance?

Usually, the board of directors is responsible for appointing a qualified individual as an institution’s AML/CFT Compliance Officer. The responsibility of the individual is to manage all aspects of the AML/CFT compliance program.


Should an organization’s designated compliance officer be responsible for the institution’s overall AML compliance even if the responsibilities have been delegated into various personnel?

Regardless of the way an institution delegates its various AML/CFT tasks, the organization’s designated compliance officer is responsible for the institution’s overall AML compliance.


What are some of the AML/CFT training that should be included in the program?

The AML/CFT training program should provide a general background and history pertaining to money laundering controls, the legal framework on what AML/CFT laws apply to institutions and their employees, legal keeping requirements, internal policies,  suspicious transaction monitoring and reporting requirements, currency transaction reporting requirements, as well as maintaining confidentiality with AML-related matters. Other matters would also include the AML trends and emerging issues related to criminal activity, terrorist financing, and regulatory requirements, and also real-life money laundering schemes, including how the pattern of activity was first detected, its impact on the institution, and its ultimate resolution.


Transaction Monitoring and Filtering Program has established to accomplish what kind of mission?

Transaction Monitoring and Filtering Program should part and parcel identifies any and all data sources, the validation of the integrity, accuracy, and quality of data. Others would also include the data extraction and loading processes to ensure a complete and accurate transfer of data, governance and management oversight, vendor selection process if a third-party vendor is used, funding to design, implement and maintain a program, qualified personnel or outside consultant, and periodic training.


Should a Customer Due Diligence (CDD) program be recommended under Recommendation 10 in FATF to establish good business relationships?

A sound Customer Due Diligence (CDD) program should not only be used to establish good business relationships but also to carry out occasional transactions under certain circumstances, and when the financial institution has doubts about the veracity or adequacy of previously obtained customer identification data.


FATF recommends that institutions incorporate what kind of measures into their CDD programs?

FATF recommends that institutions incorporate the following four measures into their CDD programs, such as identifying the customer and verifying the customer’s identity using reliable independent source documents, data, or information, the beneficial owner and taking reasonable measures to verify the identity of the beneficial owner. Besides this, there is also the understanding and, as appropriate, obtaining information on the purpose and intended nature of the business relationship, and also conducting ongoing due diligence on the business relationship and scrutiny of transactions undertaken throughout the course of the relationship to ensure that the transactions being conducted are consistent with the institution’s knowledge of the customer, their business, risk profile, and, where necessary, the source of funds.


Congratulations! You have made it to the end. Like all examination, CAMS exam requires a dedication of time and effort to pass. The CAMS exam is getting more and more difficult each year as its a compulsory exam for a lot of AML/Compliance related functions. Many conglomerate banks mention the qualification of CAMS in the job description.

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Hannah V. Rucker

Hannah used to work in the AML field in a financial organization. She's now an agent in CAMS EXAM in examination team. Consolidating and reviewing CAMS EXAM questions bank and study materials.

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