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February 28, 2019

APRA announced the annual policy priorities for 2019, outlining the areas of intended policy focus in the banking, insurance, and superannuation sectors. The near-term policy agenda will be shaped by APRA response to the Royal Commission into misconduct in the banking, superannuation, and financial services industry. The policy agenda also takes into account major developments such as the new Banking Executive Accountability Regime (BEAR) and other important industry trends.

In the banking sector, APRA will progress its proposals to implement the Basel III capital reforms and give effect to its expectations for the "unquestionably strong" capital ratios for authorized deposit-taking institutions, to take effect in 2022. As part of the finalization of the Basel III reforms, APRA is considering changes to its overall approach to capital requirements to improve comparability, transparency, and flexibility in areas where the methodology of APRA is more conservative than the minimum international requirements. If APRA proceeds in this direction, the outcome would be significant "presentational" and calculation changes to a number of prudential standards, although these would not affect the quantum of capital required.

APRA expects to consult on draft prudential standards for credit and operational risk (Prudential Standard APS 112 Capital Adequacy: Standardized Approach to Credit Risk and Prudential Standard APS 114 Capital Adequacy: Standardized Approach to Operational Risk) during the first half of 2019. Following this, in late 2019 or early 2020, APRA will consult on revisions to the Prudential Standard APS 113 Capital Adequacy: Internal Ratings-Based Approach to Credit Risk and Prudential Standard APS 117 Capital Adequacy: Interest Rate Risk in the Banking Book. These proposals will also incorporate any changes to the presentation of capital requirements that APRA is considering to improve comparability and transparency. In addition, APRA plans to update the Australian Prudential Standard APS 220 on Credit Risk Management, including recommendations related to valuations, as recommended in the final report of the Royal Commission. However, APRA has not yet determined the timeframe for proceeding with the recently released changes to international standards for market risk and it is unlikely that APRA will choose to be an early adopter of these reforms.

Across general, life, and private health insurance (PHI), APRA intends to consult the industry on plans to apply the capital framework for life and general insurance to PHI, as part of Phase Three of its PHI roadmap. APRA also intends to release a discussion paper examining how the prudential framework for insurance may need to be modified in light of the new AASB 17 accounting standard on insurance contracts. In the area of superannuation, APRA plans to ensure that superannuation trustees are prepared to implement the new member outcome assessments from January 01, 2020 (including any amendments required by legislative changes). 


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Keywords: Asia Pacific, Australia, Banking, Insurance, Superannuation, Basel III, BEAR, Policy Priorities 2019, AASB 17, IFRS 17, APRA

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