UK Financial Intelligence Unit


The UK Financial Intelligence Unit (UKFIU) receives, analyses and distributes financial intelligence gathered from Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs).  The UKFIU can be contacted here.

SARs reporters may find the following documents valuable:

pdf UKFIU SARS in Action Magazine March 2019 (1.11 MB)

pdf SARS Online User Guidance (1.14 MB)

Defence Against Money Laundering (DAML) FAQ - May 2018

pdf SARs Annual Report 2018 (521 KB)

Guidance on submitting better quality SARs

pdf Guidance on reporting routes relating to vulnerable persons (90 KB) . The SARs regime is not a route to report a crime and this document signposts the reporter to the most appropriate reporting routes.

The latest SAR glossary codes (dated 16 January 2017) provides clarification on reporting routes.

pdf Incorrect use of SAR glossary codes (69 KB)

pdf Requesting A Defence Under POCA TACT (413 KB)

pdf Changes to the 'Consent' Approach Requesting A Defence Under POCA & TACT (50 KB)

The pdf December 2018 SARs Reporter Booklet (197 KB)  containing a sanitised summary of feedback from law enforcement agencies on their use of SARs and including pertinent information and updates from the UKFIU.

How SARs are used to detect crime

A SAR is a piece of information that alerts law enforcement of potential money laundering or terrorist financing. This could be large cash purchases or a series of large, out of character deposits.

The UKFIU receives more than 460,000 SARs a year. These are used by a wide variety of law enforcement bodies to help investigate all levels and types of criminal activity; from benefit fraud to international drug smuggling, human trafficking to terrorist financing.

The UKFIU identifies the most sensitive SARs and sends them to the appropriate organisations for investigation. The remainder are made available to UK law enforcement bodies via a secure channel.

For information on reporting Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs)

Money laundering: European and international requirements

Each member of the European Union (EU) must have a national Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) to comply with EU regulations and international standards. 

The Fourth EU Money Laundering Directive (4MLD), enacted in 2015, was drawn up to strengthen the EU’s defences against money laundering and terrorist financing and align the EU’s framework with updated Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards.

4MLD imposed a number of new requirements on relevant businesses and changes to some of the obligations found under the Third Money Laundering Directive (3MLD), with an emphasis on the introduction of registers of beneficial ownership and a risk-based approach to due diligence procedures.

More information on 4AMLD.

SARs reporting in Northern Ireland

The NCA has taken over the running of the UK Financial Intelligence Unit (UKFIU) and is responsible for receiving, analysing and disseminating financial intelligence submitted through the Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) Regime. Part 7 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) applies throughout the United Kingdom; this aspect was not amended by Schedule 24, Crime and Courts Act (2013). Therefore POCA applies as it did before the NCA came into being. Notwithstanding other aspects of how the NCA operates in Northern Ireland, reports under Part 7 of POCA should therefore continue to be made to the UKFIU within the NCA.

UKFIU partnerships

The UKFIU works in close partnership with other key international organisations to fight against money laundering.

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF)

The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body fighting money laundering. The FATF recommendations form an international benchmark for assessing the effectiveness of anti money laundering measures. You can find these recommendations on the FATF website.

The Egmont Group

The Egmont Group is an international forum for FIUs to stimulate cooperation in the fight against money laundering and financing of terrorism.The UKFIU is a fully active member of the Egmont Group. Membership allows the UKFIU to seek financial intelligence from other members in order to support NCA operations and projects. It also acts as the conduit to this resource for the wider UK law enforcement community.

Further information

See links for further information on the The SARs regime and for the  pdf SARs Annual Report 2018. (521 KB)

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