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APRA and ACCC agree to engage more broadly

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reporter 2 minute read

The prudential and competition regulators have agreed to a broader model of engagement with “proactive information sharing and collaboration” as part of a new MOU.

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) have signed an updated memorandum of understanding (MOU) designed to foster closer collaboration between the two regulators.

While the two regulators have worked collaboratively historically, the two bodies have been working more closely during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly when it comes to resolution planning and authorisations on anti-competitive arrangements in the financial system.

As such, the two regulators have signed an updated MOU, which commits both agencies to a broader model of engagement, with a greater emphasis on proactive information sharing and collaboration. 

Under the arrangements, each agency will: 

  • Inform – proactively provide information and documents that are relevant to the other agency and respond promptly to information and document requests, where appropriate;  
  • Consult – where one agency is considering or undertaking an activity that has an impact on the other agency’s responsibilities; 
  • Collaborate – seek input from, or collaboration with, the other agency to achieve or improve regulatory outcomes, particularly in policy development and consultation with industry and statistical collections; and  
  • Engage effectively – seek to improve the efficiency of its interaction with the other agency and, in areas of common interest, the efficiency and effectiveness of interaction with industry participants. 

The ACCC and APRA also agreed to share information “relevant to competition in the financial system, or the financial or prudential soundness of regulated financial institutions”, with each other. However, this may be subject to any statutory secrecy and nondisclosure obligations, other confidentiality and information-sharing obligations, or other constraints.

The agencies also agree to a “proactive approach to engagement”, which includes: regular, senior-level liaison meetings (including between the heads of the agencies); mechanisms to share perspectives and expertise on relevant issues, and staff secondments and training (where appropriate).

APRA chair Wayne Byres commented: “APRA and the ACCC have a strong working relationship, founded on a common focus in supporting a safe, competitive and efficient financial system. 

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“Although APRA’s mandate requires our primary focus to be financial soundness and stability, we are also required to balance this with a range of other considerations, including competition. Updating this MOU reflects the importance of our relationship with the ACCC and acknowledges the importance of competition in maintaining a healthy and efficient financial system.”

ACCC chair Rod Sims said: “We’re pleased to continue building on our constructive relationship with APRA, and have a strong appreciation for the complementary roles each agency plays in ensuring a competitive and stable financial services industry.

“This MOU will allow the ACCC and APRA to continue to share intelligence and insights and work closely together to achieve good outcomes for Australians, including ensuring the impacts of COVID-19 on the financial sector are managed in a pragmatic and sensible way.”

APRA and ACCC agree to engage more broadly
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