Written by Sam Aldous and Emily Clarke

The National Crime Agency (NCA) and the Office for Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision (OPBAS) has published updated Guidance for anti-money laundering supervisors on submitting better quality suspicious activity reports (SARs) (the AML Supervisors Guidance).  The AML Supervisors Guidance is essentially a tailored, short-form version of the NCA Guidance on submitting better quality SARs – which is aimed at all reporters of SARs. 

Firms in the regulated sector (and their employees) are required to file a SAR where they know or suspect, or have reasonable grounds for knowing or suspecting, that another person is engaged in money laundering or terrorist financing, in respect of information coming to them within the course of business in the regulated sector. The AML Supervisors Guidance reminds AML supervisors with reporting responsibilities of the key requirements to ensure they submit “good quality” SARs.

For example, the AML Supervisors Guidance reminds supervisors that:

  • All SARs should be clear and concise.
  • Where a reporter is submitting a SAR that relates to the subject of a previous SAR, each SAR submitted in relation to the same individual must contain details of the reason for suspicion and relevant details, even if the reference number of the previous SAR is included.
  • If a reporter is seeking a defence against a principal money laundering offence (DAML), it is essential that reporters provide details of all the criteria listed in the guidance – as, if they do not, the UKFIU may be unable to assess the request and the case may be closed.

The AML Supervisors Guidance also includes examples and some notes of good practice in the event that a report relates to a professional enabler or the purchase/sale of a property.