The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has been implementing a major transformation project around how it collects data. Their Direct2APRA system has been replaced by APRA Connect. Our software was chosen by APRA to create the new solution, which is designed to modernise and standardise data collection. This will improve data quality and make it easier to compare and scrutinise Australia’s pension funds and see which ones are performing best.
After some delays due to the pandemic, APRA Connect will go live on 13 September. The first regulatory data collection to be introduced in APRA Connect is the Superannuation Data Transformation collection, due in September 2021. If you are one of the 4,500 financial entities preparing for superannuation, this post will help identify the steps you should be taking to be ready on time.
Direct to APRA (D2A) will continue to be used for most existing collections. This means that dual reporting systems will be in place for the medium term. APRA Connect will enforce data format rules and validations differently from D2A so entities must ensure that submissions comply with relevant reporting standards and associated taxonomies.
6 steps you should take in preparing for APRA Connect
- Experiment with the APRA Connect test environment
The APRA Connect test environment is available to financial entities so they can get to know the new system, understand the functionality, and run trial data preparation and submissions. The test environment is a permanent feature, where APRA will design and soft launch new data collection tools. Ahead of September’s data submissions, gaining a level of familiarity with the test environment is a good idea.
- Get ready for the September go-live
All entities should prepare for the commencement of APRA Connect by ensuring they report entity information such as entity profile, contact details, responsible persons, related parties and be able to submit ad hoc supporting information to APRA.
- Assign user roles in the live environment
The test environment and the live environment are separate, so you’ll need to assign new user roles within the live environment. Entities need to decide which APRA Connect roles should be assigned to users. Different roles may be assigned to users in each environment. A new D2A form will be available from APRA soon, for entities to nominate an initial Regulatory Reporting Administrator (RRA).
Other roles that can be assigned through the RRA include Corporate Profile Administrator and ad hoc returns permissions.
- Familiarise yourself with the new reporting standards and taxonomy artefacts
APRA has released 10 new reporting standards, as well as new taxonomy artefacts that are important to understand when using APRA Connect. APRA is making draft machine-readable artefacts available as well as the test platform. In the past, APRA would simply release a PDF and have analysts figure out what data they need to provide. Now, APRA is providing machine-readable instructions and definitions.
To fully understand and engage with the new reporting standards, technology can help. Since we created APRA Connect in partnership with the regulator, we’re well placed to help answer any questions you may have in preparing for superannuation.
- Engage with APRA Connect support through the transition
APRA has released a number of supports for entities making the transition to APRA Connect. This includes the APRA Connect Guide, which provides reference information system help. APRA’s webinar recordings and frequently asked Questions are also available for more information.
APRA has also released technical information and supporting material to help Private Health Insurers and Superannuation entities prepare data for submission on APRA Connect.
- Consider automating your APRA Connect reporting
Regulators like APRA want to collect data in greater volumes and granularity - this pattern is likely to continue, so investing in automation tools makes sense. Since working in close partnership with APRA to create APRA Connect, the solutions we offer to help financial institutions meet the new standards are tailor-made for the task. That means that companies using our automated solution can collect and submit high-quality data in hours rather than days, spot potential risks, stay compliant, and save time and money.
With the first APRA Connect reporting deadline just around the corner, time is of the essence. Our platform can be implemented in as little as four weeks, so financial entities who want to meet the September deadline must act quickly. Meeting new reporting standards and using new technologies can be a challenge, but there is plenty of support available.
With automated APRA reporting, preparing for superannuation updates from the regulator in the future is straightforward, because new system updates are pushed automatically to your system.