On November 11, the UK Financial Intelligence Unit (UKFIU) of the National Crime Agency (NCA) published its 2019 annual report on the functioning of the Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) regime.

The UKFIU noted an increase in the number of SARs and defense against money laundering (DAML) requests:

  • 478,437 SARs were received and processed by the NCA during 2018-2019, a 3.13 percent increase from the previous year;
  • 34,543 DAML requests were received, a 52.72 percent increase from the previous year; and
  • £131,667,477 was denied to criminals as a result of DAML requests, a 153.66 percent increase from the previous year.

In connection with these increases in volume, the UKFIU noted an increased headcount from 80-118 staff and a planned six-year IT transformation program. In addition, there are planned improvements to information sharing and confidentiality following the publication of the Home Office’s Economic Crime Plan in July 2019.

For the 2019/20 financial year, the UKFIU is developing “targeted outreach” to certain sectors (lawyers, accountants, challenger banks and Fintech companies) to try and improve the number and quality of SARs. The UKFIU will also work with their counterparts in Australia and the Philippines to “improve understanding of the financial flows associated with online child sexual abuse and exploitation.”

The annual report is available here.