APRA supervises Australia’s banks, building societies and credit unions (authorised deposit-taking institutions), life and general insurance and reinsurance companies, friendly societies and superannuation funds (excluding self-managed funds). APRA promotes financial stability by requiring these institutions to manage risk prudently so as to minimise the likelihood of financial losses to depositors, policy holders and superannuation fund members.
Through its supervision, APRA’s aim is to identify potential weaknesses in its regulated institutions as early as possible. APRA follows a risk-based approach under which institutions facing greater risks receive closer supervision.
After an institution is licensed by APRA, it is subject to ongoing supervision to ensure it is managing risks prudently and meeting prudential requirements, and to identify those institutions that are unable or unwilling to do so.
APRA licenses these businesses to operate and supervises them to ensure that under all reasonable circumstances, the financial promises made to their beneficiaries (i.e. depositors, policyholders and superannuation fund members) are kept.
The two main supervisory tools APRA uses are on-site and off-site analysis. These reviews are undertaken by prudential supervisors with in-depth knowledge of institutions in a particular sector, and supported by specialist risk experts.
In October 2002, APRA introduced new risk assessment and supervisory response tools known as the Probability and Impact Rating System (PAIRS) and the Supervisory Oversight and Response System (SOARS). These supervisory tools are the centrepiece of APRA’s risk-based approach to supervision and assist APRA in:
- making better risk judgments;
- quickly and consistently taking supervisory action where necessary;
- strengthening the ability of supervisors to take effective action; and
- improving oversight and reporting on problem entities.
An explanation of PAIRS and SOARS are available below;
PAIRS publication (PDF)
SOARS publication (PDF)
The following pages outline the prudential framework for each of APRA's regulated industries. The main prudential framework page contains links to legislation, prudential standards, guidance notes (as applicable), prudential practice guides and other guidance material, proposals relating to each industry and further letters, notes and advices relating to the industry.