The payoff from reporting better data to APRA

The payoff from reporting better data to APRA

Better superannuation data has already delivered better outcomes for super fund members but there’s been a lot to digest and now it’s time for a stocktake. We take a look at what that means for funds.

Lots of funds have always had members interests at heart, and the long-term outperformance of industry funds is testament to that.

But not all funds! The industry as a whole has needed a push-along to focus on getting the best retirement outcomes for their members.

That’s where data reporting to underpin performance assessment comes in.

The information super funds are legally required to send to APRA is the fuel that drives performance assessments and superannuation product Heatmaps, and supports its supervisory activity.

Quality data  allows APRA to scrutinise and reliably compare fund and product performance, and gives the Government greater visibility of super funds.

The payoff from better data reporting

Super fund members have benefited greatly from information on investment performance and fees being presented in a transparent and comparable manner.

As a result, members are better able to choose lower-fee or better performing products.

Even more significantly, the promoters of many higher fee and poorly performing products have decided to improve or close in response to having the spotlight shone on them. This has improved outcomes for millions of superannuation members.

Forget about all the bells and whistles that some funds have liked to showcase. To rephrase the old saying “It’s the (net) returns, stupid”.

The renewed focus on returns driven by good investments, good governance, the  newish “members best financial interests duty,” and supported by better data reporting, has delivered returns

Over the past decade, the amount of information sent by funds has increased enormously, and all funds and administrators have made enormous investments in their data reporting teams and enhanced data reporting processes.

We’ve been working with many funds and service providers on these projects for many years and realise just how big and daunting these projects are.

Managing a data reporting delay

It hasn’t been all smooth sailing, however.

There’s been a lot of two steps forward, one step back, as implementation timetables for both new reporting requirements and new data collection arrangements have been regularly rejigged, and APRA has sometimes struggled to deal with the data they have been sent – especially when some of it’s of poor quality.

One year into its five year data strategy, APRA is pushing the pause button on much of their data reporting and collection program while they undertake an external review. This is with a view to adjusting sequencing, timing and scope of collections to ensure successful implementation by both APRA and industry.

APRA intends to commence formal consultation in November on reporting for investments,  registrable superannuation entity (RSE) and RSE licensee profile, and RSE licensee financials, but is postponing consultation on RSE licensee operations, and other reporting standards relating to financial data and cross industry proposals for non-financial risk data collection, which were originally intended to commence in November.

The APRA Roadmap that previously included timelines for consultation, the APRA response, indicative industry build, and the dates for earliest commencement of reporting on topics previously listed for November have been removed.

Putting your best foot forward

The lack of certainty about the next steps for data reporting challenges super funds to understand, assess and respond to a changing situation, in what our CEO Brian Peters call the “sandy regulatory landscape”.

Super funds don’t want to waste resources meeting reporting requirements that might change, but at the same time, everyone’s a winner when data quality is improved, and reporting is accurate, timely and complete.

Funds  focused on filling in their data gaps now are going to be the best place to be able to show off – to members, APRA and the community – their suite of high performing products, and demonstrate their operational efficiency and good governance.

By David Haynes – Head of Industry Insights

Even an Apple has a USB   – The Modern Operating Model

Even an Apple has a USB – The Modern Operating Model

In Super we have grown up with closed loop service environments that have provided us with: Resilience, Scale, and Distributed investment in technology.

And as recently as 18 months ago IQ ran a masterclass in Super fund operating models, which for its time was quite relevant …

However, time, the world, and technology has moved on.

Wave 2 mergers, competition, advice reform, consolidation of service providers, and demand for data have all set the idea of a steady target state under pressure.

It also raises legacy product and insurance complexities that somehow seem to defy our best efforts for standardisation.

Our thinking now is that we need to look at operating models not as destinations, but as change engines that enable us to regularly re-evaluate and evolve our approach.

Stanley McChrystal called it, building for Complexity not for Complication.

The new operating model paradigm challenges us to identify the key factors which help us to understand, assess and respond to our changing environment. All within the context of dynamic strategy, competition and a sandy regulatory landscape.

So, what makes a successful and continuously evolving operating model, admin strategy and technology service platform?…


Not engagement, benefits, or retention, but the unwritten instructions that drive most of our activity. Research demonstrates that when we map a process, it covers less than 50% of the actual activity within a team. Culture guides the rest, and can be the difference between standing still, and evolving.

Culture (supported by key operating intelligence) supports the adaptive organisational business model and direction.

So will AI bridge any culture gaps? Not likely. Centaurs (AI enhanced human teams) still require us to set in place a model for decision and action that is focussed on our goals and reflects our ethical and commercial compass.

Automation for its own sake just takes you to the wrong place, faster.

By Brian Peters, Chief Executive Officer