On January 30, the UK Financial Services Authority (FSA) published its tenth Financial Crime Newsletter dealing with issues such as changes to the UK’s regime to fight money laundering and terrorist finance from the implementation of the Money Laundering Regulations 2007, the introduction of new FSA enforcement powers related to the EU Wire Transfer Regulations and a summary of recent FSA enforcement actions. Of particular note were details of initiatives being led by HM Treasury which holds the presidency of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and changes by the Serious Organized Crime Agency (SOCA) in respect of Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs).

The UK is currently part way through a 12-month term in the Presidency of FATF, the global standard-setting body which aims to develop and promote national and international policies to combat money laundering and terrorist financing. The newsletter sets out the UK’s strategic objectives for its Presidency which include: (i) enhancing the capability of FATF to undertake more strategic surveillance of emerging trends and threats; (ii) enhancing engagement between FATF and the private sector; (iii) examining how FATF can reinforce the effective implementation of the FATF recommendations in low capacity countries; and (iv) enhancing the accountability of FATF to all member jurisdictions.

The newsletter also highlights that SOCA is introducing changes to the way firms submit SARs. Presently, SARs may be made in any format. The changes, which are expected to take effect on April 1, will require reports to be received in a prescribed form.