ASIC's role in super
ASIC is the regulator responsible for the Corporations Act 2001 and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission Act 2001 (ASIC Act). These acts regulate the conduct and disclosure obligations of financial services providers, including superannuation trustees of registrable superannuation entities. ASIC is also responsible for administering parts of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (SIS Act).
As conduct regulator for superannuation, ASIC is issues-driven and focuses on trustee conduct that affects superannuation fund members.
ASIC’s role in superannuation includes:
- undertaking supervision and surveillance activities about trustees’ conduct and disclosure obligations
- taking enforcement action in response to non-compliance with the laws administered by ASIC
- assessing Australian financial service (AFS) licence applications
- exercising administrative powers in relation to AFS licences and disclosure
- providing guidance to industry and policy advice to Government
- providing relief from financial services provisions.
Read more about ASIC’s role as the corporate, markets, financial services and consumer credit regulator.
On 1 January 2021, legislative reforms that expand ASIC’s role in superannuation commenced. The reforms are designed to improve ASIC’s effectiveness as the conduct regulator for superannuation, and to increase ASIC’s consumer protection powers.
- enable ASIC to more effectively regulate superannuation trustee conduct without detracting from or duplicating the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s (APRA) role as prudential regulator
- ensure that there are no gaps in regulatory oversight of the superannuation system
- ensure that all trustees are treated in the same way and held to the same standards
- increase ASIC’s responsibilities related to consumer protection, market integrity, disclosure and record keeping under the SIS Act
- increase ASIC’s powers to take action in relation to a broader range of trustee conduct under the Corporations Act and ASIC Act.
ASIC remains focused on protecting consumers’ interests – we want to see superannuation funds operate in a way that is fair to members and promotes confidence in the superannuation system. ASIC will continue to work alongside APRA to improve trustee conduct and drive better outcomes for consumers.
Further information about how the reforms and regulatory oversight will operate in the new environment can be found in ASIC and APRA’s joint letter to trustees.
From 1 January 2021, Australian financial services licensees authorised to deal in superannuation who are also RSE licensees regulated by APRA are taken, by law, to be authorised to Provide a Superannuation Trustee Service. A search of ASIC’s Professional Registers for the licence conditions of relevant licensees may not currently show the new authorisation as ASIC needs to undertake a process of updating the details recorded on the Professional Register (which is to be completed by 30 June 2021). The licence authorisation is effective for relevant licensees even if not recorded on the Professional Register.
ASIC has contacted superannuation trustees with further information about licensing regime changes that are relevant to them. On 20 January 2021, ASIC wrote to superannuation trustees who are now authorised, by law, to provide a superannuation trustee service.
APRA and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) are co-regulators of the superannuation industry.
ASIC and APRA are primarily responsible for the supervision of the Corporations Act and the SIS Act respectively. The ATO is the primary regulator in relation to self-managed superannuation funds (SMSFs). Superannuation trustees also have important reporting and administrative obligations to the ATO.
ASIC has a memorandum of understanding in place with both APRA and the ATO to help facilitate the exchange of information between the regulators.
Read more about the ASIC–APRA relationship and ASIC's interaction with other regulators and organisations.
Super industry liaison
ASIC regularly engages with the superannuation industry and industry associations to share or gather information about regulatory changes or key issues. We conduct targeted engagement when issues arise or as part of a consultation process. For example, we may hold roundtable meetings following the release of consultation papers.
Our approach complements ASIC’s ongoing liaison through conferences, presentations and updates.
ASIC issues levy invoices each year to recover its regulatory costs incurred in the previous year from regulated entities.
Read more about Industry funding.
ASIC’s Moneysmart website is a starting point for consumers and investors to make informed financial decisions. It provides free, independent guidance and superannuation and retirement calculators for consumers.