Enforcing compliance with AML and economic sanctions laws is a top priority for regulators and law enforcement. WilmerHale leads in both areas, offering our experience as trusted advisors and unmatched regulatory insight.

Our lawyers have played a role in nearly all of the largest AML investigations to date, either as client counsel or as regulators and prosecutors. This depth of experience enables us to help clients anticipate and understand the government's priorities, communicate with regulators and law enforcement, and successfully resolve their most challenging matters and proceedings.


We advise financial institutions on a complex array of regulations issued by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, the Office of Foreign Assets Control, and state and federal banking and securities supervisors. We assist clients in preparing for and responding to regulatory examinations conducted by banking and securities regulators. Our lawyers draft regulatory comment letters and advise financial institutions and trade associations on the implications of forthcoming rulemakings. We also advocate for clients regarding regulatory and statutory issues in US Congress with key oversight and policymaking committees.

Our team provides compliance training, advises on strategic and tactical compliance matters, and assists clients in drafting policies and procedures to enhance their compliance programs. We help many US and non-US clients develop and implement internal policies and procedures to promote compliance with applicable AML and sanctions requirements, which often present complex challenges for financial institutions with global operations. Our advice includes corporate compliance programs, contractual assurances, technology control and vendor management plans, transaction and customer screening, and in-house training and compliance reviews.

We represent a diverse array of foreign and domestic financial institutions that have found themselves the targets of enforcement actions by federal and state regulators and of congressional inquiries. Our experience spans the lifecycle of enforcement, from responding to initial formal and informal requests for information through negotiating consent orders and compliance with consent orders. We also represent financial institutions in federal and state criminal investigations and frequently advise clients on matters involving voluntary self-disclosures of sanctions violations. Our attorneys have assisted financial and other institutions with their responses to nearly all of the major congressional inquiries regarding AML issues over the last two decades.


Our experience includes: 

  • counseling clients on AML obligations and issues relating to customer due diligence, transaction monitoring and suspicious activity reporting, vendor management, correspondent account due diligence, the intersection of cybersecurity and AML, and information-sharing provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act;
  • counseling clients on AML requirements affecting particular products and services, such as prepaid and credit cards, private placements and omnibus accounts;
  • drafting AML compliance policies and procedures and assisting clients with implementation;
  • providing training presentations and materials on AML compliance;
  • counseling emerging payments companies regarding potential federal and state money transmission requirements;
  • engaging with law enforcement on behalf of our clients with respect to suspicious activity reports;
  • engaging with regulators by drafting regulatory comment letters, drafting requests for administrative rulings requesting regulatory relief, and meeting with key government officials;
  • conducting internal investigations into matters concerning employee misconduct and accountability, transaction monitoring systems, suspicious activity reporting, and AML compliance programs;
  • representing financial institutions in all stages of enforcement actions brought by the US Department of Justice, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Reserve, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the New York Department of Financial Services, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Securities and Exchange Commission and others;
  • representing a financial institution in a high-profile congressional investigation concerning money laundering, drug trafficking and terrorist financing issues;
  • counseling mutual funds, mutual fund advisors and transfer agents on AML-related terms of transfer agency agreements;
  • conducting due diligence regarding the AML compliance of targets in acquisition scenarios; and
  • assisting broker-dealers with drafting AML representations and covenants for investment advisors.