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Oil dripping from a pen tip

Brutal ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ message delivered by APRA

By Mike Taylor31 August 2021

Superannuation funds now know whether they have passed or failed the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) performance test but the regulator has left them guessing on the fine details and how they rated against their peers. 

Financial Newswire has contacted a number of superannuation funds some of which had passed the performance test and others that had failed. Executives told us that they had received letters from APRA which were terse and to the point delivering the message that the fund had either “passed” or it had “failed”. 

“It did not tell us by how much we had ‘passed’ or where we stood in terms of the average so I guess we’ll just have to work that out for ourselves,” one fund executive said. 

Another, whose fund received a ‘fail’ letter from APRA said that it was now a question of waiting to see precisely how APRA delivered the messaging around that ‘failure’ and how this would be ultimately be received by members of fund. 

The absence of any detail in the ‘pass’ and ‘fail’ letters is consistent with the regulator’s outline of how it would approach the process with APRA saying that the ‘value’ or the pass or failure would not be disclosed in the information ultimately made public today. 

However, it had been expected by some superannuation fund executives that the regulator would provide them with some specifics, given the gravity of the situation. 

Those superannuation funds which received their blunt ‘fail’ letters yesterday will today have to endure the indignity of being named by APRA today and then being compelled to write to their members about the failure within the next 28 days. 

That means that by the end of September some superannuation funds will know the degree to which the superannuation fund performance test failure has eroded member confidence and perhaps led to member exits. 

Financial Newswire is aware of a number of superannuation funds that have warned APRA that they believe there exists a real risk that the requirements of the performance test regime risks provoking a ‘run’ on some funds. 

Mike Taylor

Mike Taylor

Managing Editor/Publisher, Financial Newswire

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