1.3 The Cooper Review

The Cooper Review into Australia’s superannuation system, also known as the Super System Review, was undertaken between 2009 and 2010. The focus of the Review was on promoting efficiencies and improving outcomes for members in the superannuation system. One of its recommendations resulted in the creation of MySuper.

The Review considered that there were gaps in APRA’s mandate.[1] Those gaps were said to be the result of the piecemeal way in which APRA’s role as the prudential regulator had developed over time.[2] It recommended that a new role be given to APRA that was more focused on member outcomes, and proposed that APRA would oversee and promote the overall efficiency and transparency of the superannuation system, to the ultimate benefit of members.[3] The Review expected APRA’s role to extend from routine fund reviews to matters such as trustees’ approaches to meeting their new duties, but not to extend to intervening in the trustee’s decisions.[4] The Review thought that APRA would need to have a broader range of regulatory functions to regulate member outcomes, and that this might call for new skills, resources and perspectives.[5]

The Review also said that there should be closer cooperation between APRA and ASIC, and recommended that the Government should explore how they could work more closely together in discharging their superannuation mandates.[6]

Following the recommendations of the Cooper Review, the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (Cth) (the SIS Act) was amended in 2012 to give APRA power to determine prudential standards for superannuation under section 34C; to expand the duties of trustees under section 52; to apply duties to directors of trustees under sections 52A; and to impose additional obligations on trustees, and directors of trustees, under sections 29VN and 29VO of the SIS Act, respectively.[7] ASIC’s remit and powers under the SIS Act were unchanged.

[1] Cooper Review, Final Report, 30 June 2010, 309.

[2] Cooper Review, Final Report, 30 June 2010, 309.

[3] Cooper Review, Final Report, 30 June 2010, 310 Recommendation 10.1.

[4] Cooper Review, Final Report, 30 June 2010, 309–10.

[5] Cooper Review, Final Report, 30 June 2010, 311.

[6] Cooper Review, Final Report, 30 June 2010, 315–6 Recommendation 10.5.

[7] See Superannuation Legislation (Trustee Obligations and Prudential Standards) Act 2012 (Cth).