7 Sure Signs of Trouble in Your AML Vendor Relationship

Sometimes you can’t help but wonder: Is your AML vendor relationship going in the right direction? Should you keep investing in the relationship? Are you getting the attention you expect?

Below are some warning signs of potential trouble to come. If any of these circumstances ring true for you, it may be time for you to have a serious conversation with your AML vendor – or move on to a better alternative.

1. Your vendor seems more interested in selling you additional products than serving your needs

Many vendors insist that you use only their products – for instance, their own compliance list data as well as their own software – rather than letting you choose best of breed.

Of course, all vendors want to sell as much product as possible, but a reasonable vendor will allow you to select products that best suit your needs. Screening vendors should be able to demonstrate that their product will integrate seamlessly with whatever lists, databases, or software you choose to ensure that you have the most affective workflow to run an efficient AML compliance operation.

2. Technical limitations in your vendor’s system are creating additional work for you

Scenario 1: Your regular screening processes result in high volumes of false positive alerts. You are not sure of the causes, and your vendor is not providing information to help you resolve the problem.

Scenario 2: Each time your vendor makes a change to their system, it results in a large increase of alerts for you to clear. You may have even had to hire an army of external consultants to help address the backlog.A technically advanced vendor will provide sophisticated data quality procedures as part of your screening process to eliminate unnecessary false positives. In addition, they should know how to configure the matching algorithm based on the condition of your data to further prevent false positives from being generated. The screening technology should also include a sophisticated safe-listing capability and re-trigger rules so that you see only the alerts that are worthy of your attention on an ongoing basis.

3. Your vendor is not responsive to your feedback

If you feel like your feedback and issues are not being addressed, it might be a sign that your vendor is not truly interested in solving your problems. It is also an indication that their corporate culture does not value customer service as a top priority.

Vendors that are genuinely interested in serving you well will proactively gather your feedback through various channels such as customer surveys and customer community portals. They often request to interview you with their Product or UX teams – or senior managers – to understand your pain points or future plans so they can make sure that your strategic needs are addressed. The right vendor will also follow up on your request by incorporating them into their product roadmap or updating the product to ensure that your needs are met.

4. You feel you are being “nickeled and dimed” for every request

Although you are willing to pay for the things that cost the vendor time and resources, you feel that every request ends up being “out of scope” and turns into an invoice.

If your vendor is a true strategic partner, they will be willing to provide you with the necessary advice, training, and service you need to ensure that you are using your system properly to address your issues. They will also work within your budget to develop a creative solution to your problem.

5. Your vendor does not display financial or organizational stability

A successful company one day may be on the verge of bankruptcy the next. Many vendors have a virtual revolving door of management and ownership. Signs of instability include frequent turnovers among the vendor’s sales reps or their support staff members. Or you may hear rumors about their financial troubles.

Make sure you investigate the real issues behind the employee turnover or financial issues, as these could be mean that you are working with an unstable organization that may not be best equipped to support your needs effectively in the long run.

On the contrary, if your vendor has a stable pool of experienced staff with long tenures, that is always a good sign that you are working with a company that is treating both their customers and employees right.

6. Your vendor cannot provide the level of in-depth technical support you require

If you ask for help and your vendor’s customer support staff or professional services team is not very knowledgeable about their own product, it can create a burden for you and result in having to seek help from your own IT team or external consultants.

Vendors with technically knowledgeable staff usually provide multiple layers of technical expertise. For instance, junior people are backed by senior, more experienced members of the team. Further, access to their R&D team is available to ensure that your problems are solved in a timely manner especially for more complex issues that impact your critical daily operations.

7. You are not getting timely support when you really need it

If you’ve identified critical issues that need immediate attention but your vendor’s office is closed and support is not available, your business operations can be severely impacted.

If you run a global operation and have multiple offices across the world, it is critical that you work with a vendor that can provide you with the coverage you need in the event of emergencies.

Look for a company that has dedicated support on a 24/7 basis no matter what region or office needs help. The vendor should provide you with centralized call centers where all your history and information can be accessed by any of their support staff anytime of the day or week to better serve you.