January 21, 2019 By: Anna Sayre, Legal Content Writer, ACSS

Imposition of economic sanctions by nations worldwide, led by the United States, and Non-Governmental Organizations, such as the United Nations, has grown exponentially in the last decade. This has caused compliance programs to become more challenging, difficult and expensive as they seek ways to stay abreast of fast changing rules, penalties and an environment constantly in flux.

Since its launch just three months ago, in October 2018, ACSS has already exceeded 200 members. While this rapid large following is heartening, we at ACSS thought we would explore the reasons why our members were keen to join us.

We asked the ACSS Charter Members why they jumped at the opportunity to be pioneers as the first members. Here, in their own words, are ten reasons ACSS CharterMembers gave for joining:

  1. Commitment to the compliance cause”

Stuart Gamester, Sanctions Compliance Director, Glaxo Smith Kline (London): “The main reason was as a Sanctions Compliance Director, I need to lead a team of sanctions professionals, but also show the ‘tone at the top’ in being a professional myself. Having a qualification and being a charter member of such an organization shows commitment to the compliance cause. I also attended a couple of webinars and was impressed by the skill level of the speakers and the setup of the sessions, some of the best I saw in 2018.”

  1. Ongoing, ever-changing nature of the sanctions environment”

Audrey Proto, MBA, Global Sanctions Manager, Mastercard (New York): “I joined ACSS as an individual due to the ongoing, ever-changing nature of the Sanctions environment. I always challenge to educate myself so that I may be up to date on all Sanctions activity and I believe that ACSS will help me in doing just that.”

  1. “Support certification”

Martijn Feldbrugge, CAMS Consultant, Business & Sanctions Consulting Network (BSCN) (Apeldoorn, Netherlands): “I think it is very important to know who is a specialist in our field so I support the idea of certification very much!”

  1. “Be a part of one of the first such institutions furthering… sanctions professionals”

Aidan Wells, Head of Sanctions, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (Abu Dhabi, UAE): “Sanctions as a specialization and unique skill set has evolved into a critical requirement for any entity operating on the world stage. It is only recently that formal education and institutions recognizing this discipline have begun to support sanctions professionals globally, therefore as a sanctions professional for just over a decade I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of one of the first such institutions furthering my own learning, being connected to, and potentially supporting all those sanctions professionals to come.”

  1. Upgrade [your] competencies”

Nithyananda Uppadoo, Compliance Executive, Fidelis Trust & Corporate Services Limited (Mauritius): “I decided to take the OFAC Certificate Program… to upgrade my competencies in sanctions screenings and to have a wider understanding of OFAC Programs.”

  1. “Network with compliance professionals”

Campbell, Independent Security Consultant (Washington, D.C.): “I decided to become a member and take the OFAC certificate program to network with compliance professionals and round out my knowledge of sanctions, illicit finance, and corporate risk. I think the specifics of OFAC policies and sanctions is an under-appreciated aspect of corporate due diligence and enterprise security risk management. The role of OFAC in counterterrorism, one of my specialties, is also often overlooked.”

  1. Ensure [you] have the most up to date sanctions knowledge”

Todd Maddison, Sanctions Manager, Rabobank (New York): “I’m hoping to be able to network more effectively with colleagues who work specifically in the Sanctions space. I’m obtaining the certification so I can ensure I have the most up to date sanctions knowledge to bring to my work.”

  1. Latest trends in U.S. sanctions laws and regulations”

Oscar Rene Salgado, Integrity and Compliance Analyst, Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) (Honduras): “Working for a Compliance Office in a Multilateral Development Bank doing business in Latin America, the specialization in OFAC sanctions is relevant especially due to the latest trends in U.S. sanctions laws and regulations impacting the region.”

  1. [Help] lead the way within the sanctions field”

Ryan J. Burch, CFE, CAMS, Senior Compliance Officer, JP Morgan Chase & Co. (Philadelphia, PA): “Sanctions have become an increasingly useful tool to help achieve a variety of important political and security objectives. While many of us may have practical experience with sanctions in our given industry, there has been a gap in broad professional education on the subject. By becoming a charter member of ACSS and taking part in the inaugural OFAC Essentials course, I will be helping lead the way for a new cross-industry synergy to develop within the sanctions field and to ensure (and strengthen) our ability to utilize sanctions to achieve current and future objectives.”

  1. Hear from industry and legal experts on new and complex regulations”

Peter Weiss, Sr. Sanctions Manager, BMO Financial Group (Chicago): “I have been working in the industry for over 15 years and the job a sanctions compliance professional has to do in today’s environment is enormous. The days of only needing to understand SDNs and comprehensive sanction country programs are no longer a measure of the regulatory complexities. Sectoral and secondary sanctions, along with comprehensive sanctions targeting of only a region of a country, require the sanctions professional to seek out and engage in ongoing education and guidance. It is critical to hear from industry and legal experts on new and complex regulations. I believe ACSS is a driving force in bringing the sanctions community together. Sanctions compliance professionals have needed an organization that will be solely focused on this complex and evolving subject, which is so important to them! I believe ACSS can be that organization.”


ACSS Membership provides a range of benefits and resources designed especially to enhance your day-to-day work performance and help you advance your career in the sanctions arena in the private and public sectors. You will enjoy webinars on cutting-edge sanctions topics, access to our OFAC enforcement database, official guidance library, Interactive Sanctions Map and much more!

For more information or membership or how to become an ACS member, please visit: https://sanctionsassociation.org/membership/

For information about the next ACSS OFAC Essential Certificate Course starting in April 2019, go to: https://sanctionsassociation.org/ofac-certificates/