The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) have published an information package to support the financial services industry in implementing the Financial Accountability Regime (FAR).
The FAR imposes a strengthened responsibility and accountability framework for APRA-regulated entities in the banking, insurance and superannuation industries and their directors as well as their most senior executives. In doing so, the FAR aims to improve the risk and governance cultures of those financial institutions.
Implementing the FAR fulfils recommendations made by the financial services Royal Commission that provisions modelled on the Banking Executive Accountability Regime (BEAR) be extended to all APRA-regulated entities.
The FAR replaces the BEAR, which came into effect on 1 July 2018 and was solely administered by APRA. In addition to authorised deposit-taking institutions (ADIs), the FAR will apply to insurance companies, superannuation trustees and licensed non-operating holding companies (NOHCs). Additionally, the FAR introduces conduct-focused prescribed responsibilities, and will be jointly administered by APRA and ASIC.
The FAR will come into force for the banking industry on 15 March 2024 and for the superannuation and insurance industries on 15 March 2025.
Today’s information package comprises:
- the Joint Administration Agreement between APRA and ASIC setting out the framework within which the regulators will work together to administer the FAR; and
- a joint information paper providing guidance for ADIs on transitioning from the BEAR to the FAR, supported by the ADI accountability statement guidance and template.
APRA Deputy Chair Margaret Cole said: “Just as the BEAR has helped to sharpen risk culture and governance in the banking sector, we expect the FAR to have a similar positive impact in improving standards of accountability across insurance and superannuation. We are working closely with ASIC to ensure a smooth transition from the BEAR to the FAR, and we encourage industry to engage with both regulators in the lead up to the FAR commencing.”
ASIC Deputy Chair Sarah Court welcomed the extension of the regime to provide accountability in relation to conduct failures.
“We believe the regime will increase transparency and accountability in financial firms and help embed a culture of accountability for misconduct at an individual level – accountable individuals will need to understand and closely engage with their obligations under the FAR,” Ms Court said.
Further details on industry engagement will follow shortly.
The documents comprising today’s information package are available at: Financial Accountability Regime.
APRA and ASIC intend to shortly publish the Regulator Rules and Transitional Rules for ADIs and the Key Functions Descriptions that were released for consultation on 20 July 2023. Included with this release will be reporting form instructions to assist ADIs in providing the required information to APRA and ASIC.
For APRA: Contact APRA Corporate Affairs on 02 9210 3636 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For ASIC: Contact the ASIC Media Unit on 1300 208 215 or email@example.com