The prudential regulator has asked superannuation funds to provide new sets of monthly and quarterly data – including statistics on intra-fund advice – to help them understand the impact of the pandemic on the superannuation industry and the outcomes being delivered to members.

APRA sent a letter to all registrable superannuation entities (RSEs) this morning on the Covid-19 Pandemic Data Collection, which will mandate monthly data provision on the early release of superannuation, complaints, insurance activity and the level of intra-fund advice provided.

Quarterly data will be required on investment options, foreign currency exposure and hedging, and member switching.

The request for monthly information relating to intra-fund advice is part of a component APRA is studying around the “operational resilience” of funds during the pandemic.

The regulator acknowledged that the request comes at a difficult time for super fund trustees, with market turmoil and liquidity concerns being compounded by administration centres strained under the weight of members taking advantage of early access provisions to withdraw up to $10,000 before and after the end of financial year cut-off.

“APRA understands that the PDC is at short notice on already constrained resources and that some funds may find it difficult to implement in the timeframes required,” the letter stated.

The timelines are tight; the monthly information (component 1) is due at the end of July and will cover the period April through to June this year. Moving forward the information will be due within 15 days following the end of the month.

The quarterly component (component 2) will also be due on July 31 and 15 days after the end of the quarter thereafter.

APRA reinforced the importance of the project to trustees, reminding them of a “continued need” for data to counteract the impact on the superannuation industry.

“APRA understands that RSE licensees have been under considerable pressure during the COVID-19 pandemic, however APRA considers that the data in the PDC is essential to enable APRA to analyse the impact of COVID-19,” the letter stated.

The regulator has also given trustees the opportunity to provide feedback on the PDC, which can be emailed through to APRA’s data analytic and insights team.

Tahn Sharpe is a Sydney-based financial services journalist with a background in financial planning. He writes on advice, superannuation, investment, banking and insurance issues, is a certified SMSF Adviser and holds an Advanced Diploma of Financial Planning. Contact at tahn.sharpe@conexusfinancial.com.au
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