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APRA completes first phase of its Superannuation Data Transformation

Thursday 25 March 2021

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has released the response paper and final reporting standards for Phase 1 of its multi-year Superannuation Data Transformation (SDT), which aims to support improved member outcomes by increasing the breadth, depth and quality of APRA’s superannuation data collection.

Launched in November 2019, the first phase of the SDT (Breadth) addressed the most urgent gaps in the data reported to APRA by superannuation trustees. This included expanding the data collection to include all products and investment options, and collecting improved data on insurance arrangement, expenses, member demographics and asset allocation classifications.

Following several months of industry consultation, APRA today released a response paper and 10 finalised new reporting standards covering Registrable Superannuation Entity (RSE) structure and profile, performance, member demographics, expense management, asset allocation, insurance arrangements, and fees and costs. The reporting framework has also been updated to facilitate proposed legislative amendments to be introduced under the Government’s Treasury Laws Amendment (Your Future Your Super) Bill 2021.

APRA Deputy Chair Helen Rowell said the completion of Phase 1 would be a major step in APRA’s efforts to lift industry standards and weed out underperformers.

“Our significantly enhanced reporting framework will deliver more accurate, consistent and comparable data on fund performance, especially in areas where data is currently lacking or inadequate. 

“Armed with new and deeper insights into aspects of the industry that have long been difficult to scrutinise, APRA supervisors will be in a stronger position to hold trustees to account for their decisions and the outcomes they deliver to all their members.

“The new data on choice products will enable APRA to expand analysis and insights such as heatmaps and performance benchmarking into this sector of the market, which holds assets of more than $900 billion. More granular information on fund expenditure, including marketing and sponsorships, will provide greater transparency on how trustees spend their members’ money. The new data collection also brings more consistency in key definitions, and will enable all stakeholders to make more meaningful comparisons when assessing who is doing well – and who is not.

“Not only will we collect more and better quality data through the SDT, we will also substantially lift the quantity of data we make public, enabling Government, peer regulators, analysts and members to make better informed superannuation decisions,” Mrs Rowell said. 

The bulk of the new data will be submitted from September 2021, however APRA has amended the implementation timeframe in response to industry feedback to allow trustees to defer submission of some less critical data for a year.

Consultation on Phase 2 (Depth), which will further increase the granularity of the superannuation data collections and identify data collections that may be discontinued, is due to commence in late 2021. Once complete, APRA will commence Phase 3 (Quality), which will assess the quality and consistency of the outcomes from Phases 1 and 2 and address any implementation issues.

The Response Paper and finalised reporting standards are available at: Consultation on APRA's Superannuation Data Transformation.

Your Future, Your Super

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The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) is the prudential regulator of the financial services industry. It oversees banks, credit unions, building societies, general insurance and reinsurance companies, life insurance, private health insurers, friendly societies, and most members of the superannuation industry. APRA currently supervises institutions holding $7.9 trillion in assets for Australian depositors, policyholders and superannuation fund members.