ASIC and APRA update MoU to strengthen information sharing

It follows recommendations that were made in the final report of the Banking Royal Commission.
Written by Aimee Chanthadavong, Contributor

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) have updated a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to improve the way they currently share information.

Published on Friday, the updated MoU [PDF] will see the two agencies frequently meet and proactively provide appropriate information and documents that are relevant to the other agency, and respond promptly to information and document requests; seek input from, or collaboration with, the other agency to achieve or improve regulatory outcomes, particularly in policy development, enforcement actions, consultation with industry, and statistical collections; and seek to improve efficiencies for the agencies and industry participants. 

In addition, the agencies have agreed to engage on industry data collection and will seek to minimise duplication in statistical reporting. 

As part of the MoU, the agencies have also established a formal engagement structure overseen by ASIC commissioners and APRA members. The structure will be supported by working groups, and routine informal and ad hoc meetings and information sharing between APRA and ASIC.

ASIC chair James Shipton said the updated MoU will further strengthen the relationship between the two agencies.

"ASIC and APRA will continue to proactively engage and respond to issues efficiently to deliver positive outcomes for consumers and investors," he said.

"The MoU facilitates more timely supervision, investigations and enforcement action, and deeper cooperation on policy matters and internal capabilities."

See also: How financial institutions are risking customer data through insecure mobile apps (TechRepublic)

The MoU, which replaces a previous MoU that was signed on 18 May 2010, stated the agencies will publicly report on their engagement activities annually and will review the effectiveness of this MoU biennially. 

The updated MoU comes following recommendations by the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation, and Financial Services Industry for APRA and ASIC to share information via a database that both parties will have access to.

Signed off by Commissioner Kenneth Hayne, the recommendation was one of 76 that were made as part of the the final report released in February.

Hayne suggested at the time the scheme be founded on the premise that "joint responsibility and co-operation necessitates substantial commonality of information".

"I favour a model that prefers mandatory, rather than discretionary, sharing of information. ASIC and APRA should, to the greatest extent possible, work from a single body of relevant information," he wrote.

Previously, ASIC and APRA were permitted to provide certain information to specified parties. As explained by the report, ASIC could disclose confidential information, including information obtained by exercise of its compulsory powers, to APRA. 

APRA would also provide information to ASIC, but only if APRA was satisfied that the disclosure of the information or the production of the document would assist ASIC to perform its functions or exercise its powers.

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