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Durrus Compliance Diagnostics

Tara Casserly

Tara Casserly
Durrus Compliance Diagnostics


It is estimated that 2 - 5% of global GDP, or $800 billion - $2 trillion in current US dollars is money laundered every year. Our financial institutions are obliged to make best endeavours to ensure that dirty money does not enter our financial system and if it does that it is promptly identified and reported to the authorities. Money laundering is a sophisticated business today and identifying dirty money is no easy task. Despite huge investments in AML (Anti-Money Laundering) programmes banks have in recent times been subject to massive fines, and at the same time the international regulatory authorities have moved their focus from one of simple ‘technical compliance’ to ‘effectiveness assessment.’

Implicit in effectiveness is an appropriate culture, hence there is now an increasing focus on the role culture plays in AML compliance. Organizations are now under pressure to not only demonstrate that they have effective processes but that they also have an appropriate culture supporting their AML control framework.]

Durrus Compliance Diagnostics has two diagnostics and an AML Maturity Model.

  1. The AML – Cultural Diagnostic: rapidly provides organisation with insight and understanding of AML cultural strengths and weaknesses. It demonstrates to regulators that there is a serious approach to cultural embedding.
  2. The AML- Performance Diagnostic: is aimed at senior compliance staff and provides a structured, and rapid way to critically self-assess their AML framework.
  3. The AML - Maturity Model enables deep-dive investigations of specific AML compliance risks. It can be used for the effective design and planning of remediation programmes.

The combination of the two diagnostics provides a complete AML process and cultural picture helping to mitigate AML risk, identify strengths and weaknesses and benchmark progress. The AML maturity model leverages the output from the diagnostics and directs and enables effective remediation.

Finding a means to effectively measure culture and actually finding a rapid, cost effective and thorough way to develop a documented understanding of the prevailing AML culture in any organisation has, to date, eluded everyone. Equally, traditional process assessments are both time consuming and labour intensive and therefore costly.

Durrus adapted a framework that NASA uses to measure nebulous concepts like “quality” and found that the same methodology, GQM, could be applied to assess AML cultural embedding. Durrus has leveraged maturity modelling methodologies which are accepted and embedded in many other domains like SW development and engineering to assess current effectiveness and identify the next steps for continuous improvement.

The combination of these two approaches gives Durrus a rapid, cost effective and innovative approach to reducing AML risk, providing AML confidence and identifying appropriate investment priorities.

I had previously worked for many years as a management consultant specialising in the area of Financial Services CRM and process reengineering. UCC initially approached me in 2012 to work with the UCC team to ensure there was a business focus and applicability to the research and to be a point of interface between UCC and the business world.  

AML is now a huge market with commentators expecting AML programmes globally to cost in the region of $8- $10bn in 2017. Regulatory focus has moved to demonstrating cultural and process effectiveness.   There is currently a huge market for organisations looking for a low impact and low cost way to demonstrate to regulators that their processes are effective and that they have the right culture embedded.   Executing the diagnostics is low impact and low cost on businesses with high output. From a commercial perspective the solution is a high margin enterprise with minimal back office activity, high margin because the Cultural diagnostic is deployed across entire organisations. The output also incorporates the identification of AML strengths and weaknesses which provide an excellent starting point for extensive remediation programmes.

My primary objective in taking part in the Big ideas event is to avail of the excellent networking opportunities with other researchers, start-ups and investors. On a personal level I am also looking forward to the training and input available to professionalise our pitch in advance of the event.

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