APRA is an independent statutory agency established by the Australian Parliament under the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority Act 1998 (APRA Act). Our purpose is provided in section 8 of the APRA Act:
- APRA is established for the purpose of regulating bodies in the financial sector in accordance with other laws of the Commonwealth that provide for prudential regulation or for retirement income standards.
- In providing this regulation and developing this policy, APRA is to balance the objectives of financial safety and efficiency, competition, contestability and competitive neutrality and, in balancing these objectives, is to promote financial system stability in Australia.
Specific industry Acts - covering banking, general insurance, life insurance, private health insurance and superannuation - reinforce this broad mandate and also set out our objectives with respect to the licensing and prudential supervision of each industry.
Taking this legislation together, APRA’s primary objective is to protect depositors, insurance policyholders and superannuation fund members through the prudent management of regulated institutions in each industry, and the promotion of financial stability more broadly.
We are accountable to the Australian Parliament in the following ways:
- Our Annual Report is produced for Parliament. This includes performance reporting such as the Annual Performance Statement, as well as the Performing Entity Ratio and Money Protection Ratio which are indicative of APRA's supervisory performance.
- The APRA Members and senior executives appear regularly before Senate and House of Representatives Parliamentary Committees each year, and also before ad hoc Parliamentary Committees and Inquiries, to discuss and explain APRA’s activities.
- We report annually against the Australian Government’s Regulator Performance Framework, which assesses Commonwealth regulators’ performance when interacting with business, the community and individuals against a common set of performance indicators.
- We are subject to, and adhere to, the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act (PGPA Act), which covers governance, performance, accountability and the management of public resources by Commonwealth departments and agencies.
- We are required by Parliament to publish on our website a Corporate Plan setting out information on APRA’s key strategies and activities over a rolling four-year period. This is complemented by an Annual Performance Statement under the PGPA Act, which is included in our Annual Report.
- We are subject to, and comply with, the best practice regulation process administered by the Office of Best Practice Regulation.
As a practical matter, we also work closely with the Government of the day. Government oversight of our activities occurs in the following ways:
- A Statement of Expectations sets out the Government’s expectations about our role and responsibilities as well as issues of transparency and accountability. Our Statement of Intent outlines our response to this Statement of Expectations.
- We hold regular meetings with the Treasurer and relevant Ministers to provide briefings on matters across banking, insurance and superannuation.
- The Government reviews our annual budget and approves the levies that are imposed on industry each year to fund our operations.
- We engage with the Treasurer’s Financial Sector Advisory Council, which provides advice to the Government financial sector policies and the performance of financial regulators.
We are also subject to a range of other oversight mechanisms which include the following:
- The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) audits our annual financial accounts and undertakes ad hoc reviews of our performance. These reports are tabled in Parliament and publicly available.
- The prudential framework comprises legislation enacted by Parliament and administered by us. The prudential standards for banking and insurance may be disallowed by Parliament.
- Specific decisions made by us under the industry Acts are ‘reviewable decisions’ with an internal APRA review. These decisions may also be appealed before the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.
- Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI), information on how to request copies of documents that APRA holds is published on our website.
- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) periodically assesses APRA against international codes and practices, such as the Basel Core Principles for Banking Supervision and the IAIS Core Principles for Insurance Supervision.
- The Financial Stability Board (FSB) conducts a periodic peer review of Australia, including APRA, on the implementation of financial sector standards and policies and their effectiveness.
In addition to the above, we also regularly consult and engage with our stakeholders, which includes the following:
- We consult widely and comprehensively in a transparent and timely manner when developing prudential requirements to ensure all relevant views are properly considered. We assesses the expected impact of our proposals on supervised institutions and weigh these against their benefits in achieving the desired regulatory objectives.
- We regularly liaise with other financial regulatory agencies – the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Treasury – as members of the Council of Financial Regulators (CFR) to ensure our actions are aligned and, where necessary coordinated, with the work of other bodies.
- We conduct a major independent survey of our key stakeholders on our performance every two years, the results of which are published on the APRA website.
- We actively engage with the financial industry and the wider community and explain our activities through regular speeches and presentations by the APRA Members and senior executives.
- We provide written submissions to relevant Parliamentary Inquiries, which are published on our website.
- We publish statistics and some analysis in respect to each of the industries we regulate, and we follow international standards to ensure the statistics are both reliable and timely.
- We publish APRA Insight on a regular basis with articles on key industry issues and topics of current relevance for industry and other stakeholders.
APRA regularly publishes reports on administrative activities, such as financial performance, contracts and grants, and other information that APRA holds.
APRA prepares all financial statements in accordance with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability (Financial Reporting) Rule 2015 (FRR) and includes them in its Annual Reports. The FRR is a legislative instrument made under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act (PGPA Act) that sets out the minimum financial reporting requirements for all Commonwealth Reporting entities.
We supply to Austender information on contracts entered into that have a value at or above $100,000. Austender then publishes an annual report on these contracts.
Some of the contracts listed contain confidentiality provisions of a general nature that are designed to protect the confidential information of the parties that may be obtained or generated in carrying out the contract. The reasons for including such clauses include ordinary commercial prudence that requires protection of trade secrets, proprietary information and the like.
The accountable authority of APRA, the Executive General Manager of Corporate Services Division, has assured that the listed contracts do not contain any inappropriate confidentiality provisions.
As part of the Brian Gray Scholarship program, APRA and the Reserve Bank of Australia fund up to four scholarships annually to the value of $15,000 each.
Details of these grants are listed on the website within 14 working days of both parties signing the funding agreement and remain on the website for at least two years, according to the Commonwealth Grants Rules and Guidelines.
Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI), information on how to request copies of documents that APRA holds is published on our website. A Disclosure Log is published that lists information which has been released in response to an FOI access request.
In addition, we have published an Information Publication Scheme Plan that describes how APRA proposes to comply with the Information Publication Scheme requirements as required by section 8(1) of the FOI Act.
APRA publishes a list of files twice a year in response to a Senate Continuing Order known as the Harradine Report. The lists show new file titles created by APRA, with some exclusions as noted in the Order.
Senate Continuing Order No.12 Indexed File Lists
2017 - 1 January - 30 June
2016 - 1 July - 31 December, 1 January - 30 June
2015 - 1 July - 31 December, 1 January - 30 June
2014 - 1 July - 31 December, 1 January - 30 June
Previous Indexed File Lists
2013 - 1 July - 31 December, 1 January - 30 June
2012 - 1 July - 31 December, 1 January - 30 June
2011 - 1 July - 31 December, 1 January - 30 June
2010 - 1 July - 31 December, 1 January - 30 June
2009 - 1 July - 31 December, 1 January - 30 June
2008 - 1 July - 31 December, 1 January - 30 June
2007 - 1 July - 31 December, 1 January - 30 June
2006 - 1 July - 31 December, 1 January - 30 June