A new letter from APRA to trustees of superannuation funds confirms the importance of data integrity in meeting new prudential standards for superannuation, ITM and the peak body for superannuation said today.
The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) and data specialists ITM, have been benchmarking the quality of data held in the superannuation industry for nearly two years in an effort to encourage world's best practice.
The ASFA-ITM Data Benchmark was established in 2010 and is updated quarterly.
"Ensuring data is accurate and complete is now the minimum requirement to doing business," said ASFA chief executive Pauline Vamos.
"The primary source of data is from employers and as the new data standards and protocols are implemented we expect data quality will improve.
"However, APRA has made clear today that trustees will need to be able to demonstrate they have a robust process in place to ensure they capture and verify member data with high accuracy rates."
ITM managing director Steve Shoreson said, "standardisation and straight through processing through SuperStream are not the complete answer to cleaner data.
"Trustees will now be required to demonstrate that they periodically measure the quality of data being received and applied to members' records."
The APRA letter to trustees states they should be:
..."ensuring that they have a robust process in place to regularly review and report on the quality of member data for completeness and accuracy.
In particular, trustees should be focussing on a number of data items such as members' full name, date of birth, address, mobile phone number, tax file number, date joined fund, beneficiary and gender, which are critical to the accurate and timely calculation of members benefits.
Trustees will need to demonstrate that they have these processes in place in order to meet the requirements discussed above in APRA's prudential framework."
"Funds which participate in the ASFA-ITM Benchmark annually are already able to demonstrate that they have a robust process in place," said Ms Vamos.
"They are also provided with detailed findings to enable the appropriate data cleansing to be undertaken," Shoreson added.
In the most recent ASFA-ITM Data Benchmark, 2.8 million active members were analysed across 29 funds, with over 18 million test results included in the Benchmark and many millions more data integrity tests run which identified other data issues. Accuracy was found to be 76.9 per cent - or put another way; over 20 per cent of members had at least one data error.
ASFA and ITM have taken a leadership role with regard to data quality, building awareness of the need for improvement in this area for a number of years.
More information is available at: www.superannuation.asn.au/resources/asfa-itm-benchmark.
For media inquiries, please contact:
ASFA CEO: Pauline Vamos, 0433 169 342
ITM MD: Steve Shoreson, 0411 873 057
ASFA Communications & Media Co-ordinator: Megan McDougall, 02 8079 0849
About ASFA - the voice of super
The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia is the peak industry body for superannuation and retirement policy and research. ASFA is the only organisation that represents all types of superannuation funds (retail, industry, corporate and public sector) and associated service providers. ASFA members manage or advise on the bulk of the $1.3 trillion in superannuation assets as at September 2011. Its members represent over 90 per cent of the approximately 12 million Australians with superannuation.