The client situation
There is an ongoing focus from APRA on improving outcomes for superannuation members, including through the implementation of SPS 515 Strategic Planning and Member Outcomes (SPS 515). The SIS Act and SPS 515 is prescriptive in terms of the metrics to be considered and how the Annual Outcomes Assessment should be carried out.
Our client engaged Rice Warner to support the design and completion of this assessment, having already carried out their Business Performance Review. The expectations were that the design and implementation of the Annual Outcomes Assessment would:
- Be based on a framework that was in line with the legislation and Prudential Standards; and
- Reflect market practice based on Rice Warner’s wider Member Outcomes experience.
We began by reviewing the existing components of the fund’s Strategic Planning and Member Outcomes framework including its existing Business Performance Review, current strategic objectives and business plan. This allowed us to develop a framework based on the work already undertaken by the fund and ensuring any advice we provided was consistent with the fund’s overall strategy.
We have a deep understanding of APRA’s expectations, aided by the assistance we provided to APRA with the development of the MySuper Heatmap analysis of Member Outcomes. We utilised this knowledge and our existing knowledge of the fund to build a framework encompassing:
- Factors that are required to be considered by the legislation and the Prudential Standards.
- Potential metrics that could be used to assess Member Outcomes under each factor.
- Likely sources of readily available data for each metric that is proposed to be used.
This proposed framework was then refined in collaboration with our client at a workshop. Following ratification of our proposed approach, we produced an Annual Member Outcomes assessment report. We did this by working with our client’s business intelligence and finance teams to obtain the relevant data and to evaluate the Member Outcomes being assessed.
Following completion of the report we met with the fund’s executives to discuss the draft Annual Outcomes Assessment and incorporate any of their feedback into the final version. This included a proposed Trustee determination, based on the assessment carried out, to take to the board for approval.
Outcome for the client
The client used our evaluations and advice to make its determination on whether the best financial interest of beneficiaries of the fund were being promoted. The Annual Outcomes Assessment is a key input to the Business Performance Review and using this, the fund was able to identify, at the product level, opportunities for improving member outcomes.
Subsequently, we are working with a number of other funds at varying stages of the strategic planning and member outcomes process, including:
- Overall policy and framework reviews.
- Carrying out the actual Member Outcomes Assessment and/ or Business Performance Reviews.
- Providing an independent sense check on the strategic objectives and metrics considered versus the market and APRA expectations.
- Feeding into best practice member communications.