UK's National Crime Agency Calls for Further SARs Reforms
The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) is calling for additional reforms to the country’s system for reporting suspicious transactions in an effort to scale back the volume of defensive filings it receives, the Financial Times reported Thursday.
Although the Home Office has launched a “transformation programme” aimed at overhauling the UK’s regime for suspicious activity reports (SARs), additional steps are needed, according to Ian Mynot, the head of the agency’s UKFIU division.
“A tendency to defensive reporting from some parts of some sectors is one of several issues we are considering in SARs reform,” Mynot told the FT. “We will also continue to provide targeted outreach and guidance across the various reporting sectors to promulgate best practice and improve the quality of reporting.”
Last year, the NCA reported an 81-percent jump in so-called “defence against money laundering” (DAML) requests, which can shield reporting institutions from criminal liability for processing related transactions if approved by the agency, the FT said. Of the nearly 62,000 DAML requests filed in 2019, the NCA approved all but 2,055, according to the report.
The NCA has separately seen a sharp rise in SARs filed by challenger banks and other fintech firms, with the companies submitting a total of 83,609 reports in 2019-more than double the number they filed in 2018, the FT said. The rise in SARs filed by the businesses, which accounted for 64-percent of the total annual increase in reports, can be largely attributed to the relatively fast growth in customer bases and the adoption of automation in onboarding and account monitoring, the NCA believes.
Over the course of the 12-month period ending in March 2020, the NCA saw a 20-percent rise in SARs submitted by all covered firms compared to the prior 12 months.
“We are dealing with huge volumes [of SARs and DAMLs] and large increases year on year,” Mynot told the FT. “The DAML cases are the ones that are the most resource intensive and often quite complicated to deal with, and those have risen to just over 62,000 this year, which is a big increase.”
The recent publication of the FinCEN Files investigative news stories, which relied in part on leaked SARs, have “raised real questions about whether the SARs regime is fit for purpose,” Susan Hawley, the executive director of the advocacy group Spotlight on Corruption, told the newspaper.
“A radical rethink of the SARs regime . . . is urgently needed,” Hawley said. “Law enforcement desperately need high quality reports, where well-grounded suspicions are spelt out properly. Otherwise those filing reports are just, in many cases, offloading risk on to under-resourced and overstretched enforcement agencies.”
As governments around the globe face budgetary pressures due to the COVID-19 public health crisis, the urgency to crack down on...
Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said late Monday the Australian flag carrier would implement the measure once a coronavirus vaccine was made available to the public.
President-elect Joe Biden has made the historic decision to tap Janet Yellen, former chair of the Federal Reserve, as his Treasury Secretary.
Apple’s head of global security has been indicted on felony charges for allegedly offering bribes to California police officers...
Tesla may be the new kid on the block in the auto industry, but it's quickly become a big kid on Wall Street.
Hong Kong can become a green bond financing hub for the Greater Bay Area, helping mainland companies raise funds for development...
Bourse operator Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing will launch Synapse, a new settlement platform, in 2022 to help international...
The abolition of the stamp duty on commercial property is expected to help companies receive a fair price for their assets.
The internet personality, who goes by ‘Hong Kong’s Little Miss Tsang’, lambasted the city for what she said were loopholes in its anti-pandemic measures.
Kwok Wing-hun claims he came back to Hong Kong after becoming infected with the coronavirus and did not want to die in Europe, according to insider.
Measures come as city reports 80 new infections, most of them tied to a dance club cluster that has grown to 187 cases.
Taxi driver, 81, and motorist, 29, got into altercation after traffic accident in Yau Ma Tei. Police say argument stemmed from issue of who would pay for damage.
Limits on travel and socialising will be eased for five days during the festive period, and up to three households can form a ‘Christmas bubble’.
Developers said the vaccine will be available on international markets for less than US$10 per dose and will be free for Russian citizens.
Many of the 650 bodies are stored at a disaster morgue set up during New York City’s coronavirus surge in the spring.
Can you walk down a street in a Chinese city and not get caught on a surveillance camera? One artist tried to do exactly that,...
The British government has launched a website that tells UK digital and tech businesses how to manage "risks" regarding receiving investment from China.
Luxembourgian MEP Christophe Hansen, who sits on the European Parliament’s international trade committee, has warned Michel Barnier...
A Tory MP has called for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Home Secretary Priti Patel to intervene after an "elderly...
On Wednesday, Chancellor Rishi Sunak begins setting out plans for what he hopes will be an economy beyond Covid-19.
A woman linked to burglaries on three celebrities' homes was wearing Tamara Ecclestone's rose gold earrings when she was arrested, a court has heard.
Sachimi Mochizuki has worked in Japan for two decades, but she's never taken a day off for her period.
As much as £1bn in benefit fraud has been prevented from being paid to organised-crime groups in recent months.
More than one in five secondary pupils in England missed school last week, with worsening Covid disruption.