Advice regarding the time for submission of suspicious activity reports (SARs) in relation to s.330(4)(b) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (“POCA”)
The client, a Fintech deposit taking bank, required advice on what “as soon as practicable” meant in the context of submitting SARs to the National Crime Agency under s.330(4)(b) of POCA.
An analysis of relevant legislation, guidance and case law drew a blank on a conclusive definition although all sources did point towards a degree of urgency. The NCA itself simply restated the phrase “as soon as practicable” in its guidance note on frequently asked questions. Tenet was therefore required to look at the wider context of the phrase and to balance the client’s obligations under POCA with the practical difficulties faced in processing and gathering information to submit relevant and adequate SARs.
Tenet’s final advice concluded that so long as the client was working proportionately in terms of employees dealing with alerts and submitting SARs against the number of customers overall, the client could justify the timescales currently set out in its service levels. However, there may be certain scenarios that give rise to the need for more urgent SARs, and these would need to be dealt with in shorter timescales.