APRA has published its first round of fund-level data on the superannuation early release measure, reporting two weeks into the scheme, the 10 funds with the highest number of applicants had paid out a total of $4.2 billion.
The prudential regulator published the statistics from its early release initiative (ERI) data collection, revealing the number and value of the payments processed by each fund, as well as the time taken to make payments.
As at 3 May, super funds had issued early release payments to 838,000 members worth a total of $6.3 billion. The number of total applications sat at 1 million, totalling at $8.1 billion.
The average payment was $7,629 and the average payment processing time was 3.1 days after receiving the application from the ATO.
The top 10 funds with the highest number of applicants had made 552,700 payments, covering two-thirds of the total amount released by 3 May, at $4.2 billion.
AustralianSuper received the most applications by 3 May, at 142,475. The fund had made 99,350 payments for an average amount of $7,687, totalling $763.6 million.
HOSTPLUS followed, with 127,409 applications, having completed 93,731 payments worth $661.9 million.
The other top funds included Sunsuper, REST, Cbus Super, BT Funds Management's Retirement Wrap, HESTA, OnePath Custodians' Retirement Portfolio Service, MLC Super and AMP's Superannuation Savings Trust.
Their average payment had been slightly below the overall average, at $7,560. The top funds had also made 97.6 per cent of their payments within five days.
The regulator noted trustees had processed 96 per cent of payments within five business days.
Of the 142 funds to make payments, 117 or 82 per cent made more than 90 per cent of their payments within the five business day time limit.
The figure included 57 funds that made all payments within five business days, 24 that paid 99 per cent within that timeframe, and another 18 funds that paid 98 per cent within five business days.
APRA stated that with “very few exceptions”, all payments had been made within 10 business days after receiving approved applications from the ATO.
Under the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993, superannuation trustees are legally obliged to make early release payments to eligible beneficiaries “as soon as practicable”.
APRA deputy chair Helen Rowell said the data shows trustees understand the importance of quick payments to members in financial hardship.
“This is a new scheme, and some funds have received tens of thousands of applications, so an average payment time so far of 3.1 days following receipt of applications from the ATO is a positive story,” Ms Rowell said.
“We recognise, however, that it may be both necessary and appropriate for trustees to take longer in some cases. This is no doubt frustrating to those awaiting payments, but the recent attempted fraud being investigated by the Australian Federal Police emphasises that care is needed to ensure payments go to the right people.”
The ATO can take up to four days to process the application, while super funds are meant to process the payments within a further five days.
“Although delays will occasionally occur, APRA expects trustees to make all payments as soon as practicable, and we are monitoring closely to ensure that remains the case,” Ms Rowell said.
Sarah Simpkins is a journalist at Momentum Media, reporting primarily on banking, financial services and wealth.
Prior to joining the team in 2018, Sarah worked in trade media and produced stories for a current affairs program on community radio.
You can contact her on [email protected].
The FSC has signalled some of the largest global fund managers are seeing excessive red tape in Australia as an issue, as it implores the go...