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

ASIC releases updated information about the distribution of superannuation products

15 October 2021

ASIC has released updated information for employers and trustees about changes affecting the distribution of superannuation products as a result of recent law reforms.

Read the media release

Enforceable IDR requirements

15 October 2021

The new enforceable internal dispute resolution (IDR) requirements in ASIC’s RG 271 commenced on 5 October. Here’s what trustees must do to comply. 

Read the article

ASIC calls on Australian CEOs to review whistleblower policies

13 October 2021

ASIC has written to CEOs of public companies, large proprietary companies and trustees of registrable superannuation entities (RSEs) urging them to review their whistleblower policies to ensure they comply with the law.

Read the media release

Check on superannuation trustee preparedness for new IDR requirements finds more work required

2 September 2021

A recent ASIC survey of registrable superannuation entities (trustees) about their preparedness for the new enforceable internal dispute resolution (IDR) obligations has identified some important areas requiring further work.

Read the media release

ASIC reviews the first round of super fund annual members’ meetings

6 August 2021

ASIC has released findings about superannuation funds’ annual members’ meetings. The findings are based on a surveillance of the inaugural meetings held by trustees for a selection of superannuation funds between October 2020 to March 2021.

Read the media release

ASIC publishes Internal Dispute Resolution data dictionary and glossary ahead of pilot

19 July 2021

ASIC has released internal dispute resolution (IDR) reporting documents, which will be tested in a pilot involving financial firms from across relevant industry subsectors in late 2021.

Read the media release

Product distribution: get ready for change

June 2021

Distribution rules for superannuation products are changing. Industry needs to be prepared for these reforms and should pay particular attention to the design and distribution obligations, which commence this October. ASIC’s Superannuation Senior Executive Leader, Jane Eccleston, answers some common questions about how the design and distribution obligations affect superannuation in ASFA’s Superfunds magazine.

Read the article

ASIC and APRA letter to trustees on oversight of advice fee deductions from member accounts

30 June 2021

ASIC and APRA have issued a joint letter outlining the regulators’ expectations of superannuation trustees in their oversight of financial advice fees charged to members’ accounts. The letter provides additional guidance informed by surveillances of trustees’ oversight frameworks and practices, cases identified during the Financial Services Royal Commission, and new obligations introduced by the Financial Sector Reform (Hayne Royal Commission Response No. 2) Act 2021, which commences on 1 July 2021.

Read the letter (PDF 138 KB)

ASIC and APRA release notes on inaugural Superannuation CEO Roundtable

29 June 2021

ASIC and APRA have released the public notes on the inaugural Superannuation CEO Roundtable held on Friday 30 April 2021.

The event focused on the implementation of SPS 515 Strategic Planning and Member Outcomes and Product Design and Distribution Obligations, and how the requirements are complementary and together challenge trustees to have a “continuous improvement” mindset.

Read the notes

ASIC extends licensing relief to all trustees of registrable superannuation entities for consistent treatment under the law

18 June 2021

ASIC has extended existing licensing relief for public offer trustees to include all registrable superannuation entities to ensure that non-public offer trustees are regulated consistently with public offer trustees under the Corporations Act 2001.

Read the media release

More super news and reports

Last updated: 30/03/2021 09:22