By Peter Walker for CNN
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Many business school programs are launched in response to student demand, while others follow academic and technical innovations.
But one course run by London's well-regarded Cass school was put together for another reason -- government departments and private groups asked for it.
The Graduate Diploma in Anti-Money Laundering, established by the U.K. school in late 2005, has recently accepted its second intake of 25 students.
The highly specialized course was launched in association with the Center for Financial Regulation and Crime (CFRC), set up at Cass in 2004.
The CFRC, a leading base for the identification and enforcement of so-called "white collar" financial crimes, was itself formed with the assistance of police officers and financial institutions, both commercial and regulatory.
The anti-money laundering diploma aims to train people to better tackle what is recognized as one of the most difficult crimes of all to enforce, especially in the modern era of globalized business and instant electronic transactions.
Money laundering involves using commercial transactions to 'clean' finances obtained through illegal means, such as organized crime.
Increasingly, however, law enforcement agencies say it is being used to provide funds for other groups, for example terrorist organizations or even nations subject to financial sanctions, such as North Korea.
London, one of the principal global financial centers, is at the forefront of efforts to trace and seize money acquired from dubious sources.
The Cass course is run in association with the International Compliance Association, a professional group aimed at improving anti-money laundering efforts, and with the support of police and the British Bankers' Association.
It covers everything from how money is laundered and recognizing illicit transactions to designing a specific anti-money laundering strategy for a financial services business.
The course, according to Cass's Dr Chizu Nakijima, director of the CFRC, was set up "at the request of many government agencies and private sector bodies."
The students attracted have been a mix of bankers, lawyers and businesspeople, as well as financial regulators police and prosecutors.
"Half the course is from the public sector, representing law enforcement and regulatory agencies, while the other half is private sector, representing various sectors within the financial services industry," explained Dr Nakijima, adding that prospective students had a range of reasons for signing up.
"For those in the public sector, it is either for promotion or for moving into the private sector, and for those in the private sector, it is for moving into managerial positions or those already in such positions to have formal qualifications," she said.
"There appears to be a need and demand for formal qualifications, rather than just training programs of which there are many."
Close scrutiny: a specialist anti-money laundering course.
FACT BOXFT's Executive MBA Rankings
1. Wharton, U.S.
2. Hong Kong UST, China
3. London Business School, UK
4. Instituto de Empresa, Spain
5. Fuqua, Duke, U.S.
6. Chicago GSB, U.S.
7. Columbia, U.S.
8. Kellogg, U.S.
9. Stern, NY, U.S.
10. Cass, City University, UK
Source: Financial Times 2006
FACT BOXEMBA SNAPSHOT
Executives taking the top EMBA courses in the U.S., Europe and Asia have average salaries of around $130,000 to $200,000.
A typical EMBA student is likely to be aged in the early 30s, with 6-10 years of working experience.
A top EMBA course can cost $100,000. Customized courses start at a few thousand dollars.