The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) is trying to boost its staff numbers by up to 150 people with additional funding provided by the Federal Government.
APRA Chairman Wayne Byres confirmed the recruitment drive during a recent Parliamentary Economics Committee hearing. APRA’s employee numbers have been stable at about 600 staff for the last decade, up until last year.
“We now have capacity [for] probably up to 700 or 750 [people] and we’re actively trying to grow our staff numbers now,” he says.
Canberra provided more than $550 million over four years to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and APRA to enhance their oversight and enforcement capacity, after the Hayne royal commission recommended that APRA take a more pro-active approach to its enforcement activity and that its resources – and ASIC’s – were increased commensurately.
APRA recently completed a capability review to determine if it was properly equipped and resourced to fulfil its mandate. Mr Byres says that review noted that the regulator’s staffing levels stayed the same even while its regulatory activity was expanding.
Committee member and Labor MP Dr Andrew Leigh questioned Mr Byres if long-term budget constraints led to APRA taking a more conservative approach to enforcement.
“Supervision is all about making choices, and we deploy those resources where we think we can get maximum effectiveness and achieve the best outcomes for the community… we make do with what we’ve got,” Mr Byres says.
“I think we’ve done well utilising the resources that we’ve had.”