Australian Prudential Regulation Authority
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (December 2006)|
|Founded||1 July 1998|
APRA oversees banks, credit unions, building societies, friendly societies, general insurance and reinsurance companies, life insurance and most members of the superannuation industry. It was established on 1 July 1998. APRA is funded largely by the industries that it supervises. APRA currently supervises institutions holding A$4 trillion in assets for almost 23 million Australian depositors, policyholders and superannuation fund members.
It regulates banks, general and life insurance companies, superannuation funds, credit unions, building societies and friendly societies to ensure that these institutions keep their financial promises; that is, that they will remain financially sound and able to meet their obligations to depositors, fund members and policy holders.
The current chairman of APRA is Dr John Laker and the deputy chairman is Ian Laughlin.
In June 1996, the Financial System Inquiry (known as the Wallis Inquiry) was established to examine the results of the deregulation of the Australian financial system, to examine the forces driving further change, particularly technological and recommend changes to the regulatory system to ensure an 'efficient, responsive, competitive and flexible financial system to underpin stronger economic performance, consistent with financial stability, prudence, integrity and fairness.
At the time, the regulators of the Australian financial services industry were based on the institutions and not the regulatory function. APRA's predecessor regulators were the Insurance and Superannuation Commission (ISC), the Reserve Bank of Australia and the Australian Financial Institutions Commission (AFIC).
The Wallis Inquiry recommended a new structure. The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) was to deal with monetary policy and systemic stability with the Payments System Board considering payments systems regulation.
The Australian Prudential Regulation Commission (later to become APRA) was to deal with prudential regulation of Authorised Deposit-Taking Institutions (ADIs), life and general insurance and superannuation (including Industry superannuation).
The Corporations and Financial Services Commission (a renamed and expanded Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) ) was to deal with market integrity, consumer protection and corporations.
APRA was established on 1 July 1998 under the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority Act 1998. APRA became prominent in the collapse of HIH Insurance in 2001 and for its investigation into the National Australia Bank foreign currency deal scandal in 2004.
APRA is an independent statutory authority established under the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority Act 1998 (Cth).