John Sage

APRA-Cadabra! Regulation Authority Makes Our Super Disappear

By John Sage

While we were all hard at work earning $2.8 trillion worth of superannuation, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has been slacking off the job.

According to the APRA Capability Review, the regulator has severely underestimated the resources they needed to properly protect our retirement savings.

Let’s look at this in context. The banks have been copping a flogging for months over their stifling cultures, feeble implementation, and discomfort with non-financial risk – flaws uncovered during the royal commission into the banking sector.

Now, guess what? The very things that the banks have been accused of are being found to be the sins of APRA too.

Nineteen recommendations were made in a 146-page review, and APRA have meekly accepted them all.

These include:

  • Creating a dedicated superannuation division
  • Adopting a more transparent approach to its work
  • Prioritising governance, culture, and accountability risk

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has welcomed APRA’s acceptance of the review’s recommendations and told them to get back to work.

How does all this leave you feeling about the banks and their regulators?

To me, it feels like the blind leading the blind.

It’s hypocritical for APRA to ask the banks to rise beyond a standard they themselves can’t sustain. For my money, none of this inspires confidence – not for a while yet.

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