APRA pushes back go-live for new data collection system

Revises timeline for launch from March 2020 to "later" in the year

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has moved back the go-live data of its new data collection system from March 2020 to later next year.

The system will be used by more than 4500 financial sector entities to fulfil their regulatory reporting requirements and replace the regulator’s Direct to APRA (D2A) platform.

The regulator said the delay is due to “additional complexities” which have been identified in the design of the new ‘Data Collection Solution’. The complexities relate to “constraints” built into D2A and the dependencies of critical applications.

“APRA assessed the feasibility of the previously advised go-live date of March 2020 considering project complexities identified in the design phase, additional scope, external dependencies as well as industry feedback. The go-live date for the new solution will now be later in 2020,” the authority said.

The availability of a fully secure test environment has also been pushed back, to the first quarter of 2020. Revised go-live and test environment launch dates will be revealed in October, APRA said.

D2A – which was originally rolled out in 2001 – will remain available after March 2020 to ensure reporting entities in the financial sector can meet their reporting obligations.

Meeting the new data demands has been a significant challenge for some banks, building societies, credit unions and other entities. A 2017 survey found three quarters of the more than 30 Authorised Deposit-Taking Institutions questioned said they were currently taking an approach which is either completely manual or only partially automated – typically via internal Macros.

A majority (82 per cent) of the ADIs surveyed by Wolters Kluwer said they would either change their current approach or were considering more strategic alternatives for complying.

“Even for the most complex reporting requirement, some entities use a manual entry approach,” APRA revealed this week.

Despite its delay, APRA said it would not grant any extensions to entities not prepared for the transition to the new system, and the option to submit data via email, mail or fax will no longer be available.

The authority – whose effectiveness was questioned in the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry – is pushing the financial sector to move from “the historical practice of collecting information scaled to the nearest million or thousand, to collecting whole numbers”.

As a result of the new system, oversight will be more “granular” and “detailed” something which is not possible with D2A, APRA said.

Although simple reporting requirements might still be met with “simple submission methods, such as a Microsoft Excel template” for more complex reporting the authority wants “data files without any tabular layout” it said.

“The new solution will enable changes to the way the data is collected, such as shifting to structured data sets rather than tabular forms,” APRA said.

The new system is being rolled out by Dimension Data and will be based on a data exchange platform from Ireland-based software provider Vizor.

“The new Data Collection Solution is the beginning of APRA’s new approach to collecting data,” APRA said.

The authority noted that the new data demands presented an opportunity for entities to automate their reporting – such as using APIs for data submission – and encouraged them to work with regtechs to meet their obligations.