Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur: 8 March 2010. The Society of Anti Money Laundering Professionals has launched a new class of membership. For this class, there is no annual membership fee for 2010.

The Society of Anti Money Laundering Professionals has introduced a new grade of membership for those who do not qualify as Associate Members. The new Affiliated members scheme has no annual fee for 2010.

The Society is in its grandfathering phase and therefore admission to the Society is based upon demonstrable experience. However, for those who are just starting out on their path as a counter-money laundering compliance and risk professional, their lack, or relative lack, of expertise has been a bar to membership.

The new Affiliated Member is has been introduced so that those with less than two years' relevant experience can nevertheless gain the advantages of membership.

The new Affiliated Member grade will have an annual membership fee - but for members joining in 2010, that fee is waived. There is a joining fee, paid on admission, which is not waived.

Affiliated members are permitted to remain at that level for a maximum of two years. During that time, they must achieve the qualification criteria for Associate Member and, at the end of the membership year in which they achieve those qualification criteria, must enrol as Associate Members, or terminate their membership.

The Society of Anti Money Laundering Professionals is part of The Anti Money Laundering Network, an international group of companies.

Qualifying criteria:

Any person who has been working in any of the following roles immediately prior to the making of the application for a period of less than two years:

a. compliance, risk management or internal audit of a registered financial institution or other organisation required to comply with regulations made under laws to combat money laundering and terrorist financing; or

b. the drafting of legislation or regulations applicable to counter-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing; or

c. the following government roles; or

- financial crimes investigation in a police, customs or regulatory environment; or

- intelligence agency including FIU or internal or external security service; or

d. internal audit in a commercial organisation or NGO.

Note: internal general management or consulting such as HR, training, IT are not eligible for this class of membership and should apply to be a consultant member.

For information on other grades of membership, see About the Society (left column)