Like anyone who has dedicated their careers to fighting financial crime, I’ve written, reviewed, edited and used the data reported in more suspicious activity reports (SARs) than I’d like to count – and as such, I’ve seen the powerful impact of SARs on an individual basis. With the advancement of technology and a desire to enhance regulations around the SAR process, there is a greater demand for more data to surface more actionable intel. This is evident in the current affairs that have hit the U.S. Senate floor.
The recent hearings focused on modernizing the BSA landscape, suggesting specific legislative proposals to combat illicit finance, the banking industry’s monitoring, investigation and reporting practices. The committees have been laser-focused on, simply put, doing better. Underlying the plea to modernize and enhance the current AML infrastructure from all sides (financial institutions, regulators and law enforcement) is a firm acknowledgement that the secret to success lies within the already established infrastructure – it’s really a matter of how to approach it with the right balance and perspective. This is where data comes in.
There is no better time to understand what data – all the data – tells us in order to unlock valuable insights.
In finance, specifically Compliance and AML, this data can identify human trafficking/modern day slavery, terrorism financing, extensive drug rings, exploitation, bribery, and corruption – to name a few. This speaks to the core intent of the BSA and, subsequently, the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001, which was enacted to detect, disrupt and dismantle national and foreign threats so that we might fully realize the fundamental right not only to feel safe, but be safe.
Enter Enigma’s new SAR reports. We explored whatever relevant data we could get our hands on (our specialty) and applied technology and good old-fashioned data science to it. The result: Enigma’s inaugural edition of a series of reports covering trends in SAR filings by industry and suspicious activity type over time. We’ll also include explorations of signals uncovered when combining the SAR data with other public datasets and events relevant to the industry. As with anything, we will get better as we identify additional data sets to apply to our analysis. But why wait? The time is now.