Frequently Asked Questions

What is ACSS?

ACSS is an international membership organization that provides career development, through certificate courses and certification, as well as professional networking for individuals in the sanctions/export control industry. ACSS also acts as a resource for financial institutions, corporate entities, and related businesses to identify and locate sanctions specialists in this rapidly expanding field.

What is its mission?

ACSS’ mission is to advance the professional knowledge, skills and experience of those dedicated to sanctions, and to promote the development and implementation of sound sanctions policies and procedures.

Who created it and when?

ACSS was created in September 2018, by founding sponsor Alert Media Group, LLC a leading independent authority on sanctions compliance and training, and publisher of SanctionsAlert.com. ACSS is located in Miami, Florida, U.S.A.

What are the benefits of ACSS membership?

We offer several main benefits:

  1. Targeted OFAC/sanctions training: As a member, you will have access to a library of 30+ on-demand webinars on OFAC and sanctions hosted by ACCS and SanctionsAlert. You also have free access to all our live webinars, so you can ask our experts all the questions you wish using the chat function.
  2. Resources: In addition, members of ACSS have access to the member-only part of our website at www.sanctionsassociation.org, including the
    • OFAC Enforcement Actions Database, with 900+ enforcement actions that can be searched by industry, year and violation type.
    • Interactive Sanctions Map, showing sanctions imposed by UN, EU, OFAC, UK and Canada. Click on a country and find out if the UN, the EU, OFAC, the UK or Canada have imposed sanctions on it.
    • Official Guidance Library, with guidance document about sanctions from government agencies and international organizations around the world, including OFAC, UN, EU, BIS, OFSI and Canada.
  3. Networking:
    • Volunteer for a Taskforce and network with your fellow members. For more information: https://sanctionsassociation.org/taskforces/
    • List serve – This is an email communication system for members. You can ask your fellow members and the ACSS Advisory Board real-world questions about sanctions.
  4. Discounts: ACSS member get preferential pricing for our OFAC Essentials Certificate Courses, our October 17-18 2019 Annual Sanctions Conference in New York, and other programs, including the international Certification Exam (coming in 2020).

All of this for only $175 per person per year. Register now: https://cg75988.wildapricot.org/New-Member-Page/

I am with the government. Do you offer government pricing?

Yes, we offer government pricing for membership and other program. Membership for government officials is $125 per year. Register now: : https://cg75988.wildapricot.org/New-Member-Page/

What is the difference between “create an online account” and “become a member”?

If you are not ready to purchase ACSS membership, you can create free an online account. This will give access to limited resources (some articles and the sanctions glossary) and allows you to purchase our training or products.

Note: It does not give access to ALL our “member only” resources, such as Webinars, Interactive Sanctions Map, Official Guidance Resource Library, Membership Directory and other benefits. You cannot participate in ACSS Taskforce with a free online account. You need to be a full member.

Is the membership for individuals or companies?

The membership in ACSS is for individuals. However, we offer enterprise packages for multiple members from the same organization.

Please contact us for more information at helpdesk@sanctionsassociation.org

How long is the membership?

A membership is one year. At the end of the membership, you can choose to renew your membership.

who are ACSS members?

Currently, ACSS is approaching 100 charter members in multiple countries, including the US, UK, Canada and the Netherlands. We have both members from the private and public sector. We are rapidly expanding and gaining a lot of traction. Join us on the ground floor by becoming a Charter member!

See testimonials here: https://sanctionsassociation.org/testimonials/

Do you offer enterprise memberships or group packages?

Yes we do. We offer attractive multiple person packages for larger organizations. Contact us at helpdesk@sanctionsassociation.org

I am a member. How do I access the on-demand webinars that are part of my membership?

Members received their log in to the website. For an seamless user experience, we created “single sign on”, so you just need one password to access both the sanctionsassociation.org website and get access to the learning management system where the on-demand webinars are. Follow these steps to access the on-demand courses:

  • Step 1: Go to www.sanctionsassociation.org
  • Step 2: Click “member” and log in (top right)
  • Step 3: Go to main menu on homepage, and click tab “resources”
  • Step 4: From the dropdown, select “on demand webinars”
  • Step 5: You now see a list of webinars. Click the webinar of your choice and it takes you to the learning management system 
  • Step 6: Watch the course. After watching you can download a Certificate of Attendance.
I am a member. How do I access the LIVE webinars that are part of my membership?

As a member you will have complimentary access to ACSS and SanctionsAlert live webinars. For upcoming webinars, see here: https://sanctionsassociation.org/live-webinars/ Mark your calendar so you don’t miss them.

You will receive notifications by email about upcoming live webinars a few days before the webinar takes place, including the log in instructions and Participant Guide with materials for the webinar.

I was a member of SanctionsAlert, what is the difference?

Your membership in SanctionsAlert has been transferred to membership in ACSS. You should have received a notification about that. You will have the same expiration date and have the same benefits, and more! If for any reason you haven’t receive your membership transfer, please do not hesitate to contact as at helpdesk@sanctionsassociation.org

Which sanctions are included in the interactive map?

Members can access the map here: http://resources.sanctionsalert.com/resources/interactive-sanctions-map-introduction/

We have sanctions imposed by the following senders:

  • United Nations Security Council
  • European Union
  • United States
  • Canada
  • United Kingdom
What is the OFAC Essentials Certificate Course?

The OFAC Essentials Certificate Program is a 7-part course, consisting of approximately 6 training hours, across 4 weeks. The course is delivered in an online format.

The material is available on ACSS Learning Management System and Part 3 and 5 are “live virtual classrooms” (similar to a webinar, but more interactive).

The course can be completed online. It is NOT Self-paced. It consists of 7-parts, which you have to take in the following order:

The cost is $495 for members and $595 for non-members. We offer multiple person discounts.

At the end of 4 weeks, participants who successfully completed the program receive:

  • A Certificate of Completion: Upon passing the assessment, participants will receive an electronic Certificate which denotes the completion of the course.
  • Credit hours (CSS credits will be awarded. You can use this towards becoming eligible for the CSS Certification exam)

The OFAC Essentials Certificate Course will be offered several times per year. First course starts January 15, 2019, with live Virtual Classrooms on

  • Wednesday January 30, 2019, 12:00 – 1:30 PM Eastern Time; and
  • Wednesday February 6, 2019, 12:00 -1:30 PM Eastern Time.

After that, the next course will start in March/April. Contact us for further questions: helpdesk@sanctionsassociation.org

I am interested in the OFAC Essentials Course, but what happens if I miss part 3 or 5 ( Virtual Classroom)?

You must then see the recording of the missed class on our platform.

What does the OFAC course cover? Which topics?
  • A Walking Tour Through Main OFAC legal authorities and laws.
  • Categories, Principles and Core Concepts Used Throughout OFAC Sanctions Regimes
  • Overview of OFAC Organizational structure – who does what?
  • Recognizing OFAC Sanctions Risks: Sound OFAC Risk Assessment
  • OFAC Compliance Program – Control Basics
  • Customer Due Diligence and Screening
  • OFAC 50% Rule: Direct, Indirect, Aggregate Ownership and Cascade Effect
  • OFAC Reporting Requirements
  • OFAC Licenses: Process and Best Practices
  • OFAC Enforcement
If I take the OFAC Essentials Certificate Course, am I a Certified Sanctions Specialist?

No, only those who successfully pass the international CSS examination (coming soon) will be able to use the CSS designation behind their name.

The OFAC Essentials Certificate Course is a course, with mandatory steps to complete, and a quiz at the end. If you successfully pass the quiz and completed all parts of the course, you will receive a Certificate of Completion.

What is the difference between the “OFAC Essentials Certificate Course” and the “CSS Certification Exam?”

The OFAC Essentials Certificate Course is an online training course of approximately 6-7 hours. At the end there is an online quiz that you can take from your computer at home or at work. This course is US specific and only covers OFAC. The course is repeated several times each year, starting in January 2019. Those who take the course and pass the quiz will obtain a “Certificate of Completion” for this course.

The CSS Certification Exam will be a more in depth program. You need to qualify with at least 20 points to sit for the exam. The program involves several weeks of study (either online, or self-study, or with an “Exam Prep Course”) and a proctored exam of approximately 100 multiple choice questions. You will have to go to a computer-based testing (CBT) site to take the exam. ACSS may also host a proctored paper and pencil exam at one or two key locations in the U.S. and Europe. The topic of the exam is about international standards on sanctions compliance and international sanctions. The first exam is planned for late 2019. Those who successfully pass the Certification Exam, will obtain the credential “Certified Sanctions Specialist” (CSS)

Why will ACSS create a certification exam?

Career opportunities abound for sanctions specialists, but the days when just anyone could fulfill such roles are over.

The “consumer” of the services of a compliance officer or other sanctions specialist has become more vigilant and demanding as legal responsibilities and government expectations have grown and become more complicated. The situation is exacerbated by the media’s constant attention to sanctions issues arising at banks, other financial institutions and corporations. Certification of the sanctions professional in organizations that are vulnerable to the risk of violating sanctions is designed to meet these consumer and governmental concerns.

The objective of the certification program is to set the standard for the sanctions profession, and to make Certified Sanctions Specialists (CSS) widely recognized as trained and credentialed specialists in the anti-money laundering field.

What grade do I need to pass the CSS Certification exam?

This will be decided in the cut score meeting in 2019, during the exam development process. Typically, we’d expect that the candidate needs to have approximately 75 questions right out of the approximately 100 questions.

How many people have taken the CSS Certification exam so far?

None. We are launching the Certification exam in the winter of 2019/early 2020.

In what language is the international CSS Certification Exam given?

The exams are conducted in English initially. We expect other languages, including Spanish, to be added later.

Where and when are the upcoming CSS Certification exams?

We will post this on our website at www.sanctionsassociation.org as soon as possible. First exam is expected early 2020.

Who can take the Certification exam?

In conjunction with a psychometric company, ACSS will develop an examination that addresses knowledge and skills common to all sanctions professionals in varied employment settings, including financial institutions, law firms, consulting companies, government, and international corporations. Both members and non-members of ACSS are eligible to take the exam, but ACSS members qualify for preferential pricing. Candidates with 20 credits are eligible to take the exam:

What topics are on the International Certification (CSS) exam?

Our Certification Exam focuses on the topic of international sanctions. The certification exam is tailored to international standards, and commonly accepted sanctions practices. It is NOT an exam about OFAC. (if you want to learn about OFAC, please consider taking our OFAC Essentials Certificate Course https://sanctionsassociation.org/certificates/ ).

We expect that the international CSS exam will consist of approximately 100 multiple choice questions.

An international “job task analysis” (an international study among sanctions professionals will be conducted by ACSS and the exam company to ensure that the standards of the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) are met) has determined the exact content, and the importance of each knowledge area for the professionals in this field.

Will ACSS be “grandfathering” members with a lot of experience in the field, so that they don’t have to take the CSS exam?

No, we do not plan to do this. Grandfathering may go against the very premise of certification based on commonly accepted knowledge. Notwithstanding that someone may work in an area for years, different people learn different things at different rates. ACSS would have no way ascertaining what any grandfathered person knows. As this would be detrimental to the long-term goals of the organization, ACSS Advisory Board will discuss this, but we do not expect to implement a grandfathering process. To be able to call yourself a “CSS” (Certified Sanctions Specialist) you have to successfully pass the CSS Exam.


Become a Member of ACSS