Shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, America's financial institution auditors - internal and external - were called to the trenches of the war against terrorism.Under Section 352 of the USA Patriot Act, they have been required to verify that their institutions have adequate risk assessment and prevention systems in place.

According to Edwin Rivas, CFSA, CRCM and director of Hypo Real Estate International, who recently delivered a lecture on the issue at an Institute of Internal Auditors' conference, auditors need continuous training to keep current with industry best practices. Regulators assess due diligence according to those practices, and financial institutions don't want to be the weakest link in the fight against terrorism.

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