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SARS reform

Criminals are using an increasingly complex financial modus operandi to take advantage of today’s mostly fragmented approach to detecting their criminal activity. They are, among other means, cycling through financial institutions so that no one bank has the full picture, and moving their money and accounts more quickly than bank reporting and law enforcement can keep up with.

While other areas of crime fighting have evolved considerably since the Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) regime was designed in 1989, we have not materially adapted our approach to leveraging the information held by the financial and wider regulated sector since then.

At last count, over 400,000 SARs are filed in the UK annually, and leading voices within law enforcement are increasingly saying that huge swathes of this information is not valuable and their resources are unable to keep pace with these growing numbers. This represents a significant amount of energy and effort that might be better directed towards higher value activity.

So writes David Fein, Group General Counsel at Standard Chartered, in a commentary for the defence and security think-tank RUSI (Royal United Services Institute).

He concludes that creating effective partnerships between and among the public and private sectors is an integral part of strengthening our fight against financial crime. Timely sharing of information between banks and law enforcement, underpinned by technology and engagement with regulators offers the opportunity to create a step change in our response in terms of detecting and disrupting crime and ultimately making the financial system a hostile environment for money launderers and terrorist financers.

For the full article visit the RUSI website.


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