The Government today tabled the report of Australia’s independent prudential regulator, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA).
“APRA’s report provides a good scorecard for the prudentially-regulated banking and insurance sectors” Mr Shorten said.
The report shows that as a whole the banking and insurance sectors are well capitalised and profitable.
In relation to superannuation, the Annual Report notes that APRA’s new powers to make prudential standards for the prudentially-regulated superannuation sector are “a major step in the harmonisation of the prudential framework in Australia….and will allow this framework to respond to industry developments in a more flexible way than legislation.”
“Ensuring sufficient flexibility to enable Australia’s prudential regulator to make appropriate prudential standards as conditions dictate was an important consideration in the development of the Stronger Super reforms” Mr Shorten said.
The Annual Report also notes that in recent years there has been a focus on the quality of superannuation trustees and their governance and decision-making processes, and that reinforcing this focus has been the Stronger Super reforms, which clarify and sharpen the onus on trustees to act in members’ best interests.
“Ensuring that superannuation trustees operate in the best interests of their members is at the heart of the reform agenda this Government is driving through the industry. Ultimately, I want to ensure that the interest of members comes first” Mr Shorten said.
APRA is also consulting on an enhanced reporting framework for superannuation. These reporting requirements, which are expected to be finalised in early 2013, implement the transparency and accountability elements of the Stronger Super reforms.
“APRA expects that this reporting framework will be of significant benefit to all industry stakeholders by providing greater transparency of investments and costs in superannuation and by enhancing APRA’s ability to supervise trustees and funds”.
Copies of the annual report are available at www.apra.gov.au.