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Step 1 - Early contact with APRA

Talking to APRA’s licensing team in the early stages of setting up your business, and before you lodge an application, can be highly beneficial for both you and APRA.

Contact APRA early

Making contact early will help you:

  • understand the licensing process and what happens at various stages;
  • understand APRA’s expectations;
  • identify any concerns APRA may have early on;
  • finalise your plans and decide the timing for starting up your business; and
  • make sure your application can be processed smoothly with all the required documentation.

Before contacting APRA

Consider the following key areas which APRA will initially want to focus on:

  • business plan;
  • owners and controllers;
  • senior management, the board and governance;
  • risk management;
  • financial resources, including sources of funding;
  • IT strategy;
  • outsourcing; and
  • contingency planning.

Pre-application process

When you are ready to start the licensing process, you should email APRA’s licensing team at licensing@apra.gov.au. The licensing team will then contact you to arrange a time to discuss your proposal.

The pre-application process is intended to help you commence the licensing process and ensure that your application is as complete as possible. You will meet with APRA at least three times during the pre-application process. 

The first meeting is an initial inquiry meeting which gives you an opportunity to discuss your plans with APRA and for APRA to provide feedback. At this meeting APRA can provide high level views of any likely challenges with your proposal, allowing you to make adjustments to ensure your business develops in a way that is most likely to result in a successful application. APRA will also be able to provide advice about APRA’s prudential requirements and expectations and answer any questions you have about what to expect in the licensing process.  After the initial meeting you will take time to develop your detailed business plan, incorporating any feedback APRA gave at the initial meeting. 

When your business plan is sufficiently developed and you consider you will be in a position to apply for a licence in the short to medium term, you submit your business plan to APRA for a high-level review. APRA will then meet with you to provide feedback at the second pre-application meeting. 

The final pre-application meeting is the challenge meeting. Before this meeting you should have fully developed your business plan, incorporating all of APRA’s feedback from the previous meetings. At the challenge meeting, APRA will challenge you on aspects of your business plan, your understanding of APRA’s requirements and your preparedness to apply for an APRA licence. Following the challenge meeting you should take the necessary time and care to consider and fully address any feedback prior to lodging an application for an APRA licence.

The pace at which you progress through the pre-application stage is largely up to you. The licensing team will expect you to keep APRA up-to-date on progress and we will endeavour to engage with you in as timely a way as possible. 

If the licensing team does not hear from you for six months, APRA will assume you do not want to proceed with your application.

Proceed to Step 2 > Lodge an application