The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has published its first industry-level data related to benefits paid to members through the Government’s COVID-19 temporary early release of superannuation scheme.
Under APRA’s Early Release Initiative (ERI) data collection, superannuation trustees were asked to submit data on a weekly basis covering the number and value of early release benefits paid to superannuation members and the processing times of those payments.
Data was submitted to APRA on 29 April for the week ending on 26 April. All 167 funds that APRA requested data from regarding early release payments provided it to APRA, although not all funds had received applications from the Australian Tax Office (ATO) or paid benefits to members during the week.
Today’s initial ERI publication shows that in the first week of the scheme, superannuation trustees:
- received 665,310 applications for early release;
- processed 162,879 applications; and
- paid members $1.3 billion. The average benefit paid was $8002.
For applications paid in the first week of the scheme, trustees took an average of 1.6 days to make payments to eligible members after receipt of their applications from the ATO. Given this was the first week of the early release initiative, trustees had no applications that were more than five business days old.
APRA Deputy Chair Helen Rowell said: “This new data collection enables APRA, Government and other stakeholders to monitor the take-up of the new scheme, and ensure trustees are processing eligible applications in a timely manner.
“Although this publication only covers the first week of a scheme that will run for several months, the initial data indicates trustees are moving quickly to make payments after receiving determinations from the ATO.
“Under the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993, trustees are legally required to make early release payments to eligible members ‘as soon as practicable’. We expect trustees should generally be able to achieve this within five business days, however we recognise this may not be practicable in all cases, as trustees conduct fraud checks, and fulfil their legal obligation to look out for the best interests of all fund members.
“APRA is closely monitoring trustee performance in this area and will consider taking appropriate action if evidence emerges of funds not releasing benefits to eligible members as soon as practicable,” Mrs Rowell said.
APRA intends to publish updated data every Monday, and will expand the publication next week to include fund-level data.
The ERI data is available at: COVID-19 – early release of superannuation.