Terms Beginning With 'm'

Money Laundering

What is Money Laundering? 

Money laundering is an illegal scheme in which criminals make and transfer large amounts of money through disguising identity and location via different criminal activities such as drug, arms and human trafficking, embezzlement, terror financing. The laundering scheme is conducted while making the process look legitimate.

The money, however, is processed via criminal conduct; hence it is called "dirty", but because of the process of making it look legitimate or clean, it is referred as "laundering". 

READ OUR BLOG: What Is Meant By Money Laundering?

Money laundering is a dangerous financial transactions crime which is commonly performed to launder the black money or dirty money. Laundering lets the criminal transform their illegal funds into legitimate assets , which could even be a real estate property, ultimately making it look legal in the purview of the law.

The criminal activities related to money laundering are conducted across the globe and are also commonly carried on by the white-collar criminals. Most of the money laundering is done in illegal narcotics trafficking.

Usually, it is the criminals conducting money laundering activities for their own business purpose; these days, it is also seen that money laundering is offered as a service in the organized crime world. Various professionals such as lawyers, bankers and even accountants are participating in enabling money laundering activities.

Criminals launder their dirty or black money so that they can use clean cash for everyday transactions without making it look suspicious.

The laundering also helps them from preventing the funds being traced back to their illegal business activities and locations, ultimately saving the funds from getting confiscated by authorities. 

GOOD READ: Money Laundering and Child Abuse Suspicions Over PayPal; External Audit Ordered by AUSTRAC

What Are the Commonly Used Steps To Launder Money? 

Money laundering is a systematic process. The three common steps which are followed by the criminals are placing, layering and integrating the dirty money. 

  • Placing: First, let us understand why this step is required. Placing helps the criminals put their dirty money into the financial system. There are various ways to do this. The first step is always critical because there are higher chances of getting the funds detected while transferring into the financial system in large sums.

If it looks suspicious to the bank, there are chances of police getting informed. Therefore, many countries have defined amounts to deposit funds into the financial systems. If the payment is larger than the limit, the financial systems have to inform the authorities by mandate.

These days the criminals also use alternative ways to place their money by using cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin

DO READ: Bitcoin for Beginners: 5 things you need to know

  • Layering: This step involves transferring the funds from financial systems through complicated ways to track. Sometimes the criminal closes the course of the money once it's moved to other systems. Several transactions are undertaken in this process to conceal the initial foundation of the funds.

Similarly, it's done for transactions in Shell Corporations. In some countries, the financial systems have stringent privacy laws such as Switzerland , Panama, the Cayman Islands, etc. It is difficult for the authorities to investigate once the funds are transferred into such financial systems. 

  • Integration: Now that these funds are difficult to trace back to its origin, the integration takes place. Integrating the money back in the market is the last step to clean the cash from being dirty.

Casino and gambling points, real estate transactions, purchasing the securities and also life insurance policies are commonly used to integrate laundered money into the financial world. 

What Are the Anti-Money Laundering Regulations Worldwide? 

Different countries have different set of rules to combat money laundering. Although, Financial Action Task Force (FATF) works towards dealing with money laundering globally. While more than 200 countries and jurisdictions are participating in implementing FATF recommendations and policies.

The agency has set international standards to ensure the states are able to prevent organized crime, corruption and terrorism. The agency also provides information on the criminals to the local authorities. Most importantly, the agency works towards bringing a political will to implement laws in these areas. 

The agency develops policies, recommendations with the help of its members and also provides adequate information and support to deal with the terror funding. The FATF body calls itself a money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog. 

Various countries came together to create this inter-governmental agency in order to combat money laundering. The headquarter of this agency is in Paris, France. The agency currently has 39 members on board along with 37 jurisdictions.

FATF’s two regional organizations, the Gulf Cooperation Council and the European Commission are working towards the same goal. Apart from the member countries, 31 international and local organizations are part of FATF as its Associate Members or Observers of the FATF. 

How Does Money Laundering Affect Businesses? 

  • Impact on markets: Once the illegal dirty money is integrated into the marketplace, it is difficult to track back the unlawful criminal activity. While placing the funds into the financial system, the criminals also at times bribe the employees or sometimes the institutions turn a blind eye towards these transactions. It creates a doubt on the overall integrity of financial players. The evidence of such activities is impacting on the character/standing of the financial institutions. 

Another important aspect is the funds generated via money laundering are used in creating volatile situations in international capital flow as well as exchange rates.

Most of the time, the money which is laundered is used for cross-border asset transfer. These funds once integrated into the market, creates change in the money demand. Such funds offer risk to a bank's soundness. 

  • Impact on society, democracy and law and order: Money laundering not just impact the market and economy but because it is leads to corruption, crime and terrorism, it damages the smooth functioning of the society. Unchecked or ineffective handling of money laundering can have severe impacts on the social and political aspects of the community.

Once the dirty money is infiltrated into systems, it can get control of the broad sectors such as real estate investment. Once these elements take control of the society, it damages the social fabric, at large weakening the society from its core.

Laundering provides safe passages for the criminals to exist and conduct furthermore criminal activities; therefore, governments take money laundering gravely.  

ALSO READ: Why is Governance important for banks: NAB under Money Laundering Trap

Condition in which potential loss from the risk is not enough to spend money on it to avoid the risk. Such cases emerge when the risk is either too less or very unlikely to occur.  

What is accounts payable? Accounts Payable (AP) is an obligation that an individual or a company has to fulfill for purchasing goods and services bought from their suppliers and vendors. AP refers to the amount that is not paid upfront and can be paid back in a short period of time. Hence, a good or a service purchased on credit to be paid in a short period will fall under AP. For individuals, AP may include the bill paid after availing services such as television network, electricity, internet connection, or telephone. Most of the time, the bill is generated after the designated billing period, depending upon the amount of consumption. The customers have to pay this obligation within a stipulated time to avoid default. What is accounts payable from a Company’s point of View? AP is the amount of money a company is liable to pay to its suppliers or vendors and clear dues for purchases of goods and services purchased from its suppliers or vendors. AP is required to be repaid in a short period, depending on the relationship with suppliers. It is essentially a kind of short-term debt, which is necessary to honour to prevent default. As the current liabilities of the company, AP is required to be settled over the next twelve months. It is presented in the balance sheet as the account payable balance. For example, Entity A buys goods from Entity B for US$400,000.00 on Credit. Entity A has to pay back this amount within 60 days. Entity A will record US$400,000.00 as AP while Entity B will record the same amount as Account receivable. AP is also a part of the cash flow statement. The change in the total AP over a period is shown in the cash flow statement, hence it is part of the company’s working capital. It is widely used in analysing the cash flow of the business and cash flow trends over a period. AP may also depict the bargaining power of the company with its vendor and suppliers. A vendor or supplier may give the customer a longer credit period to settle the cash compared to other customers. The customer here is the company, which will incur AP after buying goods on credit from the vendor. There could be many reasons why the vendor is providing a more extended credit period to the firm such as long-term relationship, bargaining power of the firm, strategic needs of the vendor, the scale of goods or services. By maintaining a more extended repayment period to supplier and shorter cash realisation period from the customer, the company would be able to improve the working capital cycle and need funds to support the business-as-usual. However, prudent working capital management calls for not overtly stretching the payable days as it might lead to dissatisfaction of supplier. Also, investors tend to closely watch the payable days cycle to determine the financial health of the business. When the financial conditions of a firm deteriorate, the management tends to delay the payment to their suppliers. Why accounts payable is an important part of Balance sheet and Cash Flow Statement? As inferred from the previous paragraphs, AP is part of the current liabilities of the balance sheet. This is an obligatory debt that has to be paid back within a time frame so that the company does not default. AP primarily consists of payments to be made to suppliers. If AP keeps on increasing over a period of time, it can be said that the company is purchasing goods or services on credit more, instead of paying up front. If AP decreases, it means the company is reducing its previous debts more than it is buying goods on credit. Managing AP is essential to have a stable cash flow. In a cash flow statement prepared through an indirect method, the net difference in AP is shown under cash flow from operating activities. The business entity can use AP to create the desired variation in the cash flow to some extent. For example, to increase cash reserves, management can increase the duration of paying back the credit taken for a certain period, thus affecting the net difference in AP. What Is the Role of Accounts Payable Department? Every company has an accounts payable department and the size and structure depend upon how big or small the enterprise is. The AP department is formed based on the estimated number of suppliers, vendors, and service providers the company is expected to interact with; the amount of payment volume that would be processed in a given period of time; and the nature of reports that a management will require. For example, a tiny firm with a low volume of purchase transactions may require a simple or a basic accounts payable process.  However, a medium or a large enterprise may have a accounts payable department that may require a set of practices to be followed before paying back the credit. What is the Accounts Payable Process? Guidelines or a process is important as it provides transparency and smoothness in facilitating the volume of transactions in any time period.  The process involves: Bill receipt: when goods were bought, a bill records the quantity of goods received and the amount that needs to be paid to the vendors. Assessing the bill details: to ensure that the bill or invoice copy includes the name of the vendor, authorization, date of the purchase made and to verify the requirements regarding the purchase order. Updating book of records after the bill is collected: Ledger accounts need to be revised on the basis of bills received. The department makes an expense entry after taking approval from management. Timely payment processing: the department takes care of all payments that need to be processed on or before their due date as mentioned on a bill. The department prepares and verifies all the required documents. All details entered on the cheque along with bank account details of the vendor, payment vouchers, the purchase order, and the original bill and purchase order are scrutinized. The department also takes care of the safety of the company’s cash and assets and prevents: reimbursing a fake invoice reimbursing an incorrect invoice making double payment of the same vendor invoice Apart from making supplier payments, AP departments also takes care of travel expenses, making internal payments, maintaining records of vendor payments, and reducing costs Business Travel Expenses: Bigger entities or firms whose business nature requires all personnel to travel, have their AP department manage their travel costs. The AP department manages the personnel’s travel by making advance payments to travel companies including airlines and car rentals and making hotel reservations. An account payable department may also deals with requests and fund distribution to cover travel costs. After business travel, AP may also be responsible for settling funds supplied versus actual funds spent. Internal Payments: The Accounts Payable department takes care of internal reimbursement payments distribution, controlling and petty cash controlling and administering, and controlling sales tax exemption certificates distribution. Internal reimbursement payments include receipts or both substantiate reimbursement requests. Petty cash controlling and administering includes petty expenses such as out-of-pocket office supplies or miscellaneous postage, company meeting lunch. Sales tax exemption certificates comprise AP department handling sales tax exemption certificates supply to managers to make sure qualifying business purchases excludes sales tax expense. Maintaining Records of Vendor Payments: Accounts Payable maintains information of vendor contact, terms of payment and information of Internal Revenue Service W-9 either manually or on a computer database. The AP department lets management know through reports on how much the business owes at present. Other Functions: The accounts payable department is also responsible to lessen costs by identifying cost structures and creating strategies to reduce the spending of business money. For example, minimising cost by making payment of the invoice within a discount period. The AP department also acts as a direct point of contact between an entity and the vendor. How to Calculate Accounts Payable in Financial Modelling Financial modelling enables calculating the average number of days a company takes to make bill payments. AP days can be calculated using the following formula: AP value can be calculated using the following formula: What is accounts payable turnover ratio? AP turnover ratio shows the capability of a firm to pay cash to its customer after credit purchases. It is counted as an essential ratio to analyse the cash management attribute of the firm and its relationship with vendors or suppliers. It is calculated by dividing purchases by average AP. Purchases by the company are calculated as the sum of the cost of sales and net inventory in a given period: Now let’s understand this with the help of an example. Let us suppose, Cost of sales of Company XYZ for the period was $60,000, and XYZ began with inventories worth $21000 and ended at $15000. AP at the beginning was $20000, and $15000 at the end. Now the purchases will be $66000 (60000+21000-15000). The average AP will be $17500. Therefore, the AP turnover ratio will be 3.77x. Dividing the number of weeks in a year by the AP turnover ratio will give the number of weeks the company takes on average to settle its payables. In this case, it will be around 13.8 weeks (52/3.77). What is the difference between Accounts Payable vs. Trade Payables? Though the phrases "accounts payable" and "trade payables" are used interchangeably, the phrases have slight differences. Trade payables is the cash that a company is obligated to pay to its vendors for goods and supplies which are part of the inventory. Accounts payable include all of the short-term debts or obligations of a company.

Darvas Box system Every great trader/investor in the history of the markets had a specific method to approach the markets, which eventually led them to create a good fortune, Darvas Box system is one such method. It is a trend following strategy developed by Nicholas Darvas in the 1950s to identify stocks for good upside potential. This is one of the few methods to trade the markets which uses the combination of both the technical analysis and fundamental analysis for a much more refined decision.  The fundamentals were used to identify the stocks, and technical analysis was used to time the entry and exits. Who was Nicholas Darvas? Nicholas Darvas was arguably one of the greatest stock traders/investors during 1950s – 1960s, but surprisingly he was a ball dancer by profession and not a professional stock trader. Even while trading and building his fortune, he was on a world tour for his performances in many countries and took up trading as a part-time job. In November 1952 he was invited to a Toronto Nightclub for which he received an unusual proposition of getting paid in shares by the club owners. At that time, all he knew was there is something called stocks which moves up and down in value, that’s it. He accepted the offer and received 6k shares of a Canadian mining company Brilund at 60 cents per share, with the condition that if the stock falls below this price within six months, then the owners would make up the difference. This was the introduction of a professional ball dancer to the stock market. Nicholas Darvas couldn’t perform at the club, so he bought those shares as a gesture. Within two months, Brilund touched $1.9, and his initial investment of $3000 turned to $11400, netting in almost three times of his investment. This triggered a curiosity into the stock markets, and he started to explore trading. Origin of the Darvas Box theory Initially, he was trading on his broker’s recommendation, tips from wealthy businessmen, he even approached some advisory services or any source that he could get his hands on for the tips, but all led him to losses. After losing a lot of money, he decided to develop his own theory, and after a lot of trial and error, his observations and continuous refinements he eventually invented his theory “The Box Theory”. So what exactly is the Box Theory? Fundamentals Analysis As stated earlier, the box theory uses a judicious bend of both the technical and fundamentals. Darvas believed that in order to spot a good stock or even a multibagger, there should be something brewing up in the respective sector as a whole or some major fundamental change in that specific company. Generally, the fundamentals that Darvas used to study were on a broader sector level, and not the company-specific fundamentals. Even for the specific company Darvas used to look from a general perspective like, is the company launching a new product which could be a blockbuster hit. He completely refrained from looking at numbers and financial statements as his initial experiment with ratios and financial statements didn’t yield any good result. To know more on the three financial statements read: Income Statement (P&L) Balance Sheet Cash Flow Statement Technical Analysis Darvas was a big believer in price action and volume of the stock. He believed if some major fundamental changes were to take place in a company, this soon shows up in the stock price and its volume of trading as more people get interested in buying or selling the stock. With his observations here realized by just observing the price action, he can participate in the rally which gets triggered by some major fundamental development without actually knowing about the change. Using the box theory, Darvas used to scan stocks based on rising volume as he needed mass participation in the rally. Also, he only picked up those stocks that were already rising. His theory is all about “buy high, sell higher” instead of the conventional belief of “buy low, sell high”. After the stock satisfies both the parameters of increasing price and volume with major underlying fundamental change, Darvas looks to enter the stock. Good read on momentum trading. How and where to enter? Major part of the box theory is based on entry and exit levels. To enter a stock, Darvas looked for a consolidation phase preceded by a rally. A consolidation phase is the price action wherein the price moves up and down in a tight range, that is, a non-directional move. He would then mark the high and low of the consolidation phase with the horizontal line, essentially making it a box-like structure, hence the name “Box Theory”. The high point is called the ceiling, and low is called the floor. Whenever the stocks break above the ceiling, Darvas would look to buy one tick above the ceiling with one tick below floor as a stop-loss point. Pyramiding Darvas discovered early on, in order to become successful in the market your winning bets should yield much more profit than the loss in the losing bets. This led him to do pyramiding in his winning trade, which is clearly defined in the box theory. Pyramiding means to increase the existing position if the stock is going in the favour, which leads to a much higher profit in the winning trades. According to the box theory, the repetition of the entry criterion is the new signal for adding onto the existing position. In other words, after a position, if the stocks stage the same setup, that is, a consolidation after a rally, then the break above the ceiling of this new box would signal to increase position with the revised stop loss of 1 tick below the new floor. In any case, whenever the stock falls below the current floor, the entire position would we sold off at once. This is the only exit condition in the box theory, and there is no method of booking profit upfront as Darvas believed in holding on to a rising stock. The only way to book profit is to let the stock to take out the revised stop loss.

What is Day Trading? Day trading is popular among a section of market participants. It is a type of speculation wherein trades are squared-off before the market close in the same day. An individual or a group is engaged in buying and selling of securities for a short period for profits, the trades could be active for seconds, minutes or hours.  One can engage in day trading of many securities in the market. Anyone who has sufficient capital to fund the purchase can engage in day trading. For a class of people, day trading is a full-time job.  Day traders are agnostic to the long-term implications of the security and motive is to benefit from the price changes on either side and make profit out of the asset price fluctuations within a day. They bet on price movements of the security and are not averse to take short positions to benefit from the fall in price.  Day trading is not only popular among individuals or retail traders but institutional traders as well, therefore the price movements are large sometimes depending on the magnitude of information flow and accessibility.  Everyone wants to make money faster, and many are inclined to speculate in markets, but it comes with considerable risk and potential loss of capital. People engaged in day trading also incur losses, and oftentimes outcomes are disheartening.  Day trading is a risky activity, similar to sports betting and gambling, and it could become addictive just like gambling and sports betting. Since the motive is to earn profits, the profits realised from day trading also tempt people to continue speculating.  People spend considerable time and efforts to make the most out of day trading. They have to continuously absorb and incorporate information flow, which has become increasingly accessible driven by new-age communications systems like Twitter, Facebook, forums etc. But not only information flows have been favourable, day traders are now equipped with best in class infrastructure to execute trades even on compact devices like mobile phones. The accessibility to markets is at a paramount level and gone are days of phone call trading and lack of information flows.  What are the essentials for Day Trading? Basic knowledge of markets With lack of basic knowledge of markets, day trading may yield unacceptable outcomes. It becomes imperative for people to know what’s on the stake. Prospective day traders should know about capital markets, and the securities traded in capital markets like bonds, equity and derivatives.  Buying shares and expecting a return from the price movements are on the to-do list for many. However, it is important to know about and risks and potential returns from speculating in capital markets.  After getting some basic knowledge about markets and securities, aspiring day traders should know how to analyse market prices of securities through fundamental analysis and technical analysis. Although day traders don’t practice fundamental analysis extensively, they spend considerable time to apply technical analysis, to formulate a entry and exit strategy.   Device and internet connection Trading is now possible on mobile applications as well as computer applications or websites. An aspiring day trader will likely begin with mobile phone given the accessibility, and laptops/computers are useful as scale grows larger and complex.  Internet connection is prerequisite to practising day trading, and it is favourable to have a fast internet connection to avoid glitches and potential problems. These perquisites are now available with large sections of societies.  Broker and trading platform A broker will facilitate a market for potential trades. The security brokerage industry has also seen a profound shift as technology has driven cost lower while competition is ramping up across jurisdictions. Large retail brokerages have moved towards zero commission trading in the U.S., and the same is seen being the trend across other geographies as well.  The entry of discount and online brokerages has perhaps given wings to the retail market participants as well as the retail market for security brokers. Robinhood has grown immensely popular in the United States, but there are many firms like Robinhood in other jurisdictions. Each country has some firms with business model on same lines as Robinhood.  Brokers now offer high-quality mobile applications and web services to clients, and trading security has never been so accessible. They also provide access to the global market along with a range of securities, including commodity derivatives, currency derivatives, CFDs, options, futures, bond futures etc.  Real-time market information flow   On public sources, market price information is at times not live due technical shortcomings, which will not work appropriately, especially for day traders. Brokers not only provide platform and market but several other services, including margin lending, real-time data, research.  Day traders closely track prices of securities and overall information flow to incorporate developments in bidding, and real-time data provides accurate prices throughout market hours.  Information flow largely relates to the news around the company, industry or economy. Day traders now have far better sources of information than the conventional sources, and sometimes these sources could be exclusive to a group.  What are the risks of day trading? Most of the aspiring day traders end up losing money, given the lack of experience and knowledge. They should rather only bet on capital that they are comfortable to loose, in short, they should avoid risk of ruin. Day trading is sort of pure-play speculation and application of knowledge, information flow, laced with good trading system is paramount. The only concern of day traders is movement in price, which contradicts from investments. Day traders try to time and ride the momentum in the price and exit the trade before momentum turns otherwise, which can happen frequently.  It consumes considerable time and induces stress on the individuals given the nature of security prices, which can move north and south abruptly throughout the day, hours, minutes and seconds. Day traders should have enough capital to trade in cash instead of margin.  Day trading on margin or borrowed money is extremely risky and has the potential to make a person insolvent, especially in cases of extreme risk-taking. The leverage associated with borrowed money magnifies profits as well as losses.  Aspiring day traders should equip themselves with adequate knowledge, competency and sound risk management process. Although fast money is dear to most, it is better to know what is at stake before jumping into markets with excitement.   

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