TR1-11 APRA and XBRL: The Seven Year Itch

Presenter: Steve Davies

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) is the prudential regulator of the Australian financial services industry. It oversees banks, credit unions, building societies, general insurance and reinsurance companies, life insurance, friendly societies, and most members of the superannuation industry. It was established in 1998 from the merger of 11 predecessor agencies to ensure that, under all reasonable circumstances, regulated financial institutions meet their promises.  APRA also acts as the national statistical agency for the Australian financial sector.  

Soon after its establishment, APRA conducted an extensive review of its data collection powers, systems and reporting requirements.  In 2001, it became the first regulator globally to use the XBRL for the electronic communication of data.  In the same year, APRA introduced its electronic data collections system - Direct to APRA (D2A).

Australia’s finance industry, however, was very cautious about XBRL’s adoption. Only a handful of financial institutions have written software that extracts information from their systems in XBRL format for upload to D2A.  

APRA aims to again lead the world in the use of XBRL.  It is a key partner in the development of the Australia’s Standard Business Reporting (SBR) program.  This whole of government initiative seeks to eliminate duplication and reduce reporting burdens by streamlining and automating financial reporting between businesses across all industries and government agencies.

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