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APRA proposes major increase in superannuation data transparency

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has launched a consultation on plans to sharply expand the breadth and granularity of the superannuation data it publishes.

The consultation follows on from the finalisation of Phase 1 of APRA’s Superannuation Data Transformation, which addressed the most urgent gaps in the data reported by superannuation trustees, especially around choice products. 

Having determined the 10 new reporting standards that comprise Phase 1 in September last year, APRA today issued an discussion paper outlining proposals to publish the enhanced data collection, including what will – and will not – be treated as confidential.

Starting in June this year, APRA proposes publishing new aggregate industry, fund-level and product-level statistics containing key metrics, including improved data on insurance arrangements, expenses, member demographics and asset allocation classifications. Where relevant, new approaches will be used to better enable comparisons across complex fee and cost structures or insurance design. 

APRA is proposing to determine most of the data collected under Phase 1 as “non-confidential”, and therefore able to be published. It will be the first time APRA has published data on all products and investment options; until now, APRA has only published product-level data for MySuper products   .

Executive Board Member Margaret Cole said APRA was determined to publish as much of the new data as possible.

“The Superannuation Data Transformation sits at the heart of APRA’s agenda to use heightened transparency to lift industry performance and improve member outcomes.

“While collecting better quality data across all products and investment options is essential for APRA’s ability to scrutinise the outcomes trustees are delivering for members, it’s only half the puzzle. Increasing the breadth, depth and consistency of the data we publish will help all stakeholders make better informed decisions by providing a more complete picture of the industry. As with the MySuper and Choice heatmaps and Your Future, Your Super performance test, we also expect the increased transparency to benefit members by making it even clearer who isn’t performing and urgently needs to improve or get out,” Ms Cole said.

In addition to expanding its existing superannuation publications, APRA has flagged plans to introduce two types of datasets for users to access published statistics in a format that is easily consumed by their own reporting tools: 

  • key metrics datasets which primarily mirror the statistics in the publications without formatting; and 
  • granular datasets for sophisticated users to access more detailed data in a format that closely resembles the data as reported.

Following an eight-week consultation, APRA intends to issue its final determinations around data confidentiality in June, with the first statistical publication under the new reporting standards released soon after.

Copies of today’s discussion paper are available on APRA’s website at: Consultation on APRA's Superannuation Data Transformation.

Superannuation Data Transformation

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The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) is the prudential regulator of the financial services industry. It oversees banks, mutuals, general insurance and reinsurance companies, life insurance, private health insurers, friendly societies, and most members of the superannuation industry. APRA currently supervises institutions holding around $9 trillion in assets for Australian depositors, policyholders and superannuation fund members.