UK NCA to reform SAR

The UK’s NCA (National Crime Agency) has unveiled details of a project to reform the SAR (suspicious activity report) regime, amid a large increase in the number of submissions from financial institutions and other reporting entities.

The NCA received over 570,000 SARs in the year to March 2020, an increase of 20 percent over the previous 12 months, according to the 2020 annual report on the SAR regime.

The “SARs reform programme”, led by the Home Office, has continued to develop during the year, the NCA said in the report.

The project will provide a “modern suite of IT services” enabling law enforcement search and analysis of SARs in a single solution, SAR reporting (portal and bulk), and UKFIU database and tools to manage the progress of SARs.

Stakeholder engagement sessions with law enforcement agencies have been arranged and documented to discuss user requirements for a “new single interface” providing access to search, analysis and visualisation tools for SARs.

Engagement sessions have also been held with SARs reporters – including those from the banking, legal, money service businesses, gaming, casino and accountancy sectors – focusing on transformation of the SAR Online portal into a new system with additional features.

“The sessions proved popular with reporters who welcomed changes to the current system whilst the feedback proved invaluable for the project’s business analysts regarding the scope of the new system going forward,” the report said.

The IT transformation project has included process changes which have allowed the NCA to reduce its average turnaround time on DAML (Defence Against Money Laundering) submissions from five days to four days over the year, despite the large increase in the number of cases.

“The SARs Reform Programme plans to deliver further increases in our staffing, on top of the increases provided by the NCA in recent years,” the report says.

Credit: KYC360