At the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (ASFA) conference held in Brisbane in the last week of November, Stephen Glenfield, APRA’s General Manager of the South West region indicated that an area of significant interest for APRA during 2016 would be the extent to which superannuation funds were prepared for cybersecurity risks.

Mr Glenfield indicated that APRA would be conducting a thematic review of superannuation funds during 2016 which was designed to provide APRA with much more detailed information about the processes that superannuation fund trustees were putting in place to protect their funds and their members from cybersecurity breaches.

As thematic reviews carried out by APRA are usually precursors to further regulatory or prudential reform, this announcement should alert superannuation funds to expect more comprehensive regulatory requirements in relation to the cybersecurity risks in the near future.

It is expected that APRA will be particularly interested in understanding how superannuation fund risk management frameworks address cybersecurity risks and how trustee boards are involved in the oversight of cybersecurity risk management. A likely focus of the reviews will be investigating the measures which superannuation funds have established to:

  • identify critical assets and data
  • protect such assets and data
  • promptly detect when breaches have occurred
  • respond to breaches including communications and reporting
  • recover from breaches including reinstatement of systems and learnings from incidents.

This initiative comes on the back of ASIC’s release during March of this year of its Report 429 on Cyber Resilience and underlines how Australia’s financial system Regulators are becoming much more concerned about cybersecurity risks.