June 18, 2019

UK Law Commission looks to improve AML enforcement

The UK Law Commission, a statutory independent body tasked with reviewing the law of England and Wales and recommending reform where needed, has issued a report entitled “Anti-Money Laundering:  the SARs regime.”  The report contains recommendations aimed at improving the quality of Suspicious Activity Reports, and limiting the quantity of low-value reports.

The Law Commission found that over 470,000 SARs were submitted by UK businesses in the past year, but many of these were of low value to authorities because of the broad definition of criminal property in the Proceeds of Crime Act, a lack of clarity in the definition of other key terms, and over-reporting due to the threat of individual criminal liability for officials who fail to report.  The Commission’s report calls for, among other things, statutory guidance to ensure that reporters understand their legal obligations, and recommends the creation of an advisory board to oversee the drafting of new guidance and a new on-line SAR form.

Law Commission Report | Law Commission Report | Summary of the reporting regime