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.

Recent reforms

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.

The reforms:

  • 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.

Licensing changes

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.

Co-regulators

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.

Industry funding

ASIC issues levy invoices each year to recover its regulatory costs incurred in the previous year from regulated entities.

Read more about Industry funding.

Moneysmart

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.

We are always looking to improve our superannuation information and would like to know what’s important to you. Please leave us some feedback.

Note: This address is not for general enquiries about our services or advice. We suggest asking us a question online instead.

What's new

Internal dispute resolution (IDR) in superannuation: Transition from RG 165 to RG 271 from 5 October 2021

28 April 2021

ASIC Commissioner Danielle Press wrote to all superannuation trustee CEOs recently, highlighting the importance of CEO level engagement with the obligations set out in Regulatory Guide 271 – Internal Dispute Resolution (RG 271). These obligations commence 5 October 2021. ASIC is also seeking information from the superannuation industry to understand progress of their preparations for RG 271.

Read the letter (PDF 90 KB)

ASIC’s expectations about new internal dispute resolution requirements for superannuation trustees

March 2021

Regulatory Guide 271: Internal dispute resolution (RG 271) was released in July 2020 and contains updated standards and requirements that will drive financial services firms to ensure they handle consumer complaints in a fair and timely manner.

Jane Eccleston, ASIC’s Superannuation Senior Executive Leader, explains what the changes mean for trustees and outlines ASIC’s expectations.

Read the article

ASIC releases advice fee consent and lack of independence disclosure legislative instruments

25 March 2021

ASIC has made three legislative instruments that deal with advice fee consents and independence disclosure following Royal Assent of the Financial Sector Reform (Hayne Royal Commission Response No.2) Act 2021 earlier this month.

Read the media release

Insurance in super: Turning data into outcomes

12 March 2021

Recent changes to superannuation laws have created many immediate pressures and opportunities for trustees. One opportunity trustees have now is to think holistically about their systems and processes: can they be improved to deliver better outcomes for members and avoid poor outcomes that may only become apparent years down the track? Jane Eccleston, ASIC’s Superannuation Senior Executive Leader, discusses some of ASIC’s recent work on insurance in superannuation and how trustees can use data to improve the insurance they provide to members.

Read the article

Temporary arrangements for trustees notifying ASIC of new responsible managers

5 March 2021

Following recent feedback from the industry, as a temporary measure, ASIC will not require trustees notifying ASIC of the appointment of new responsible manager(s) for the provision of a superannuation trustee service, to provide proof documents that would usually be required at the time of notification.

Read more

Reforms of the core regulatory framework for superannuation

4 February 2021

Government reforms that expand ASIC’s role in superannuation commenced on 1 January 2021. The reforms enable ASIC to play a more effective role in regulating conduct in the superannuation industry to promote better consumer outcomes and market integrity. Jane Eccleston, ASIC’s Superannuation Senior Executive Leader, explains what the reforms mean for trustees, ASIC’s approach to the changes, and how ASIC and APRA will continue to work together as co-regulators of superannuation.

Read the article

More super news and reports

Last updated: 30/03/2021 09:22