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More than half of in-scope law firms submit suspicious activity reports

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More than half of in-scope law firms submit suspicious activity reports

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New Thirdfort analysis reveals a 25% rise in suspicious activity reports by solicitors over two years

New analysis from Thirdfort, a client due diligence platform, reveals that more than half of solicitors' firms subject to Anti-Money Laundering (AML) regulations submitted Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) last year. According to the data, solicitors in the UK submitted a total of 3,560 SARs and Defence Against Money Laundering (DAML) SARs in 2022/2023. This figure represents 59% of the 6,007 law firms under AML regulations, assuming each firm filed one SAR.

The research shows a significant increase in the total number of SARs and DAML SARs submitted by solicitors, with a nearly 25% rise over the past two years. Specifically, there was a 4% increase in 2022/2023 from the previous year and a nearly 20% rise from 2020/2021 to 2021/2022.

YearSARsDAML SARsTotal
2020/20211,7151,1602,875
2021/20222,0521,3843,436
2022/20232,1211,4393,560

Harriet Holmes, AML Services Manager at Thirdfort, commented on the findings: "Our analysis shows that over the last two years, there has been almost a 25% increase in the number of SARs submitted by solicitors. This is a welcome development given the critical role that lawyers play as gatekeepers in the regulated sector. It ultimately supports protecting society from fraud and money laundering.

"While SARs submissions from lawyers have grown, so have the risks posed by fraud and money laundering. So, law firms should continue to take a thorough approach to their anti-money laundering obligations and encourage lawyers to engage with the compliance process and raise issues when they spot them. By being more proactive about AML, law firms can stay on the right side of the regulations beyond the submission of SARs."

Thirdfort’s platform uses AI, biometric verification, and Open Banking to automate KYC, AML, and Source of Funds verification, transforming what has traditionally been a lengthy and cumbersome process into one that takes just minutes.

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