The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has published its updated Corporate Plan with a sharpened focus on regulating non-financial risks and improving outcomes for superannuation members.
The Corporate Plan for 2019-2023 sets out a roadmap for reinforcing APRA’s strong track record of safeguarding financial stability, while lifting its capabilities in other key areas to better address emerging and future challenges.
The content of the plan has been influenced by the findings of six separate reviews and inquiries over the past 18 months that examined aspects of APRA’s regulatory approach and performance, including the financial services Royal Commission and recent Capability Review.
In response, APRA’s new Corporate Plan has identified four areas of strategic focus aimed at strengthening outcomes for the Australian community:
• maintaining financial system resilience;
• improving outcomes for superannuation members;
• improving cyber-resilience across the financial system; and
• transforming governance, culture, remuneration and accountability across all regulated financial institutions.
APRA Chair Wayne Byres said the new Corporate Plan was designed to ensure APRA could respond faster and more effectively to meet the challenges of a rapidly evolving financial environment.
“Australia’s financial system remains in good health, but we can’t take that for granted. As macroeconomic and geopolitical risks play out, as technological innovation transforms the industry, and as new risks such as cyber and climate change grow, we must have the right skills and resourcing to continue protecting bank depositors, insurance policyholders and superannuation members.
“The new Corporate Plan acknowledges increased expectations of APRA, and fulfils the recommendations of the Royal Commission and Capability Review. Amongst other things, we will place greater emphasis on the supervision of ‘non-financial risks’ such as culture and accountability, and take a “constructively tough” enforcement approach when breaches of our prudential standards occur,” Mr Byres said.
In order to deliver on APRA’s strategic priorities, the Corporate Plan also identifies a number of key areas where APRA will focus on lifting its internal capabilities over the next four years:
• improving and broadening risk-based supervision;
• improving our resolution capability;
• improving our external engagement and collaboration;
• transforming our data-enabled decision-making; and
• transforming our leadership, people and culture.
Mr Byres said: “APRA is well aware of the heightened expectations of the organisation, and will be regularly reporting on the progress we are making in delivering better community outcomes across the four areas of strategic focus we have called out.
“Although it is ultimately up to financial institutions to strengthen community trust in the industry, regulators have an important role to play. In delivering on this Corporate Plan, APRA will be better equipped to ensure the entities we regulate are not only financially resilient, but also have frameworks, systems and cultures in place designed to reduce the risk of misconduct and poor consumer outcomes.”
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 $6 trillion in assets for Australian depositors, policyholders and superannuation fund members.