Ash St. Perspective | APRA Guidance On Implementing The Bear

By Shaun McGushin, Director Ash St. with research contributions from Cassian Ho, Lawyer Ash St.

On 17 October 2018 APRA released an information paper to assist small and medium ADIs prepare for BEAR and large ADIs with their ongoing compliance.

This was also presented at COBA 2018 by APRA representative Pat Brennan, who mentioned that they will be writing to small and medium ADIs to request draft submissions of accountable persons and their accountability statements over a number of months. APRA will provide feedback on these drafts to assist these ADIs prepare for their formal submissions on 1 July 2019.

To help you prepare and address BEAR for your ADI, we have summarised the key takeaways from the APRA Paper below.

  • How many Accountable Persons? Not prescribed. It is dependent on the size and complexity of the ADI. Other than its directors, it will need to cover the senior executive team, who between them cover management and control of all of the operations of the ADI. For the major banks, the number of Accountable Persons was generally above 20. It will not be uncommon for some of the medium, and all of the smaller ADIs to nominate only a few other key individuals. Each ADI needs to determine who will be their Accountable Persons.
  • Registering an Accountable Person. APRA has provided a template Registration Form. The ADI will be expected to sign a declaration as to the Accountable Person’s fitness for the role. Registration must occur prior to the individuals commencing as an Accountable Person.
  • Accountability Statements. APRA has provided a template Accountability Statement. An Accountable Person is expected to sign and acknowledge their Statement. APRA has warned against the use of generic terms (e.g. ‘manage’ or ‘oversee’) and expects a high level of specificity around the individual and what they are accountable for in practice and the outcome expected. It appears a lack of specificity was an issue for the larger ADIs and something the small and medium ADIs should take particular notice of. While accountability can be held jointly between two or more Accountable Persons, APRA has stated that this should not serve to blur ultimate responsibilities held by those individuals.

Ash St. has developed a sample completed Accountability Statement, which can be obtained by contacting Shaun McGushin, Director, Ash St. at smcgushin@ashstreet.com.au or Cassian Ho, Lawyer, Ash St. at cho@ashstreet.com.au. However, this is intended only as a tool to assist you in thinking about the responsibilities that may be typically held by Accountable Persons. Accountability Statements must accurately reflect the actual accountability obligations and reporting lines of the individual.

  • List of Key Functions: APRA has provided a non-exhaustive list of key functions for an ADI in the template. These functions should appear in the Accountability Statement of at least one Accountable Person. An example of this is set out below in relation to risk functions. For smaller ADIs, an alternative may be that the CEO manages the risk process from end-to-end.

Step One: Board | Develops and Approves Risk Appetite Statement

Step Two: CEO | Ensures ADI operates within Risk Appetite Statement

Step Three: CRO | Monitors and Reports on actual risk profile

Step Four: Audit | Reviews controls in relation to risk profiles

  • Accountability Maps: APRA has not provided a template Accountability Map, as this will be a matter for each ADI to consider. APRA clearly wants each ADI to carefully consider where the ultimate accountability lies in the ADI for its various businesses and functions to clarify the organisational structure if necessary, and for the Accountability Map to accurately reflect that. Ash St. has developed a sample template, which can be obtained by contacting Shaun McGushin, Director, Ash St. at smcgushin@ashstreet.com.au or Cassian Ho, Lawyer, Ash St. at cho@ashstreet.com.au. However, there is no one size that fits all solution. Accountability Maps must accurately reflect the accountability within the ADI.
  • Notification Process: APRA has provided a template Notification Form (changes in Accountable Persons or breach of the BEAR). Further guidance is expected to be provided in early 2019.

In Conclusion

The clear message here is that APRA expects each ADI to carefully consider its own position and for its Accountability Statement and Accountability Map to be very specific, to cover all its business and functions and to provide a level of detail that is accurate and complete. The aim here is that there is to be clear accountability and that this is not a box ticking exercise.

More Information?

It is important to get the right advice when setting up your processes to comply with BEAR. Contact Ash St. Legal and Advisory today to discuss how our professional services may be able to assist your business in getting this important new process right.

Shaun McGushin +61 2 8651 8717 | smcgushin@ashstreet.com.au

Cassian Ho +61 2 8651 8713 | cho@ashstreet.com.au

Disclaimer

This communication is intended to provide commentary and general information only. It is not intended to be a comprehensive review of all aspects of the matter referred to. It should not be relied upon as legal advice as to specific issues or transactions.

About the author

Shaun McGushin leads the Ash St. Projects & Finance team. He is one of Australia’s most experienced advisers on infrastructure and finance, including buying and selling infrastructure assets, public private partnerships, project finance, corporate finance, acquisition finance, capital markets and workouts.

Formerly a partner of both Corrs and Freehills, Shaun has over thirty years’ experience advising local and international corporates on a wide range of transactions with particular focus on the infrastructure, power, energy and resources industries. He has a reputation for successfully completing major transactions, no matter how complex, and is sought for his strategic and negotiating skills.

Acknowledgements

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