The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has today released a discussion paper on enhancing its superannuation statistical collections and publications. The discussion paper, Enhanced APRA superannuation statistics collection, invites comments on a range of options for developing improved collections and reports.
This release follows consultations commenced in November 2008 on plans to produce performance data on individual superannuation funds, following a request from the Minister for Superannuation and Corporate Law, Senator Nick Sherry.
APRA Deputy Chairman Ross Jones said the substantial changes within the superannuation industry over recent years are driving the need for revised statistical collection and reporting. The collection was last reviewed in 2003.
‘The average superannuation fund has become considerably larger and more complex over the past five or more years,’ Mr Jones said. ‘APRA’s experience with the data over this time indicates that to better understand both funds and trustees, we need to deepen the statistics collection within each fund.’
Mr Jones said a number of industry participants have recently called for greater detail and granularity in APRA’s superannuation statistics and reports.
‘The proposed enhancements to the statistics collection and reporting would complement the fund‑level publication to be released later this year,’ Mr Jones said. ‘Enhanced collections would also assist in APRA’s supervision of the industry and provide improved statistics to the Australian Bureau of Statistics to help inform public policy discussions.’
Some of the key proposals are:
- collection of data at the sub-fund and investment option level;
- use of asset classifications that are consistent with industry investment practice;
- separate reporting in respect of all defined benefit members, encompassing the estimated vested benefit index (VBI) and the name and ABN for each defined benefit employer sponsor;
- separate reporting in relation to the demographic characteristics of, and assets held in respect of, active, inactive and retired members;
- better data on asset allocations, by requiring trustees to look through collective investments such as pooled superannuation trusts or life policies to the underlying assets; and
- expanded data on fund returns.
To enhance the timeliness of publication of superannuation data, APRA is considering reducing the time for submission of quarterly returns from the present 25 working days after the end of the reporting quarter to 20 business days, in common with other APRA-regulated industries.
The discussion paper canvasses the possibility of collecting data on the accrued benefits of a small number of representative members to ensure comparability of performance data at the most relevant reporting levels.
APRA is seeking comment on the proposals by 22 June. The discussion paper can be accessed via the APRA website.