Ongoing IMF Research Projects on Anti-Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT): An Overview

April 25, 2007

The IMF's research and analysis of AML/CFT issues has two primary objectives: (i) to contribute substantively to the international research agenda in the area of AML/CFT and (ii) to support and strengthen its ongoing work in assessment and providing technical assistance.

With over thirty dedicated AML/CFT experts coming from diverse national and professional backgrounds who are involved in a number of aspects of AML/CFT work, the IMF is in a unique position in the area of AML/CFT research and policy development. One of the Fund's main comparative advantages emanates from its position as an organization with a quasi-universal membership having AML/CFT responsibilities throughout the globe. Information about AML/CFT implementation issues, challenges, and best practices come to the Fund from its own assessment and technical assistance work as well as from its review and familiarity with the work of other assessor bodies and TA providers.

The Fund's research and analysis work contribute to the understanding of the phenomena of money laundering and the financing of terrorism. In addition, the Fund's dedicated AML/CFT staff process and analyze the information obtained in the course of the Fund's AML/CFT activities in order to integrate it with broader theoretical and economic literature to identify global best practices and provide benchmarks for assessors and TA providers. Research also serves to integrate AML/CFT issues into the larger financial sector and macroeconomic agenda of the Fund. Finally, research efforts support and bring increased legitimacy to technical assistance by allowing it to draw on identified benchmarks and best practices and adapting them to suit individual countries' circumstances.

In the period ahead, the research and policy agenda will cover the following areas: (i) "fundamental" research and policy development projects on AML/CFT, (ii) projects concerning the relationship of AML/CFT work to the Fund's mandate, and (iii) projects that derive from the application of the standard to the "new sectors", and from some of the issues that its implementation raises within the FATF/FSRB context.

As of November, 2006, projects underway include:

  • Confiscation of the Proceeds of Crime and Freezing Terrorist Assets
    Producing a handbook on issues and solutions in confiscating proceeds of crime and freezing terrorist assets.
  • Lawyers' Participation in AML/CFT regimes
    Exploring international practice on the extension of AML/CFT obligations to lawyers.
  • FIU Operations: Reporting, Analysis, & Dissemination
    Analyzing how FIUs around the world actually perform their reporting, analytical, and dissemination functions.
  • The Role of ML/FT in Financial Crises
    Examining the linkages between AML/CFT and financial stability, based on historical case studies of key financial crises in which ML may have had a role in destabilizing the financial system.
  • · Risk-based approaches to combating money-laundering and terrorist financing
    Exploring the question of ML/FT risk at the country, sectoral, institutional, and client levels.

  • AML/CFT Inspection Procedures for Banks:
    Developing a comprehensive guide on how to conduct AML/CFT inspections that can be adapted for use in specific country TA projects.