Life Insurance (prudential standard) determination No. 4 of 2010 - Prudential Standard LPS 520 - Fit and Proper

Link to law: https://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/F2010L00622

Life Insurance (prudential standard) determination No. 4 of 2010
Prudential Standard LPS 520 Fit and Proper
Life Insurance Act 1995
 
I, John Roy Trowbridge, Member of APRA:
 
(a)        under subsection 230A(5) of the Life Insurance Act 1995  (‘the Act’), REVOKE Prudential Standard LPS 520 Fit and Proper made by Life Insurance (prudential standard) determination No. 3 on 23 June 2008; and
 
(b)        under subsection 230A(1) of the Act, DETERMINE Prudential Standard LPS 520 Fit and Proper in the form set out in the Schedule, which shall apply to all life companies (including friendly societies) and registered NOHCs.
 
 
This instrument takes effect from 1 July 2010.
 
Dated  2 March 2010
 
[Signed]
 
………………………
John Roy Trowbridge
Member
 
Interpretation
In this Instrument
 
APRA means the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority.
life company  has the meaning given in the Dictionary to the Act.
 
friendly society has the meaning given in section 16C of the Act.
 
registered NOHC has the meaning given in the Dictionary to the Act and registered non-operating holding company has the same meaning.
Schedule
 
Prudential Standard LPS 520 Fit and Proper comprises the 11 pages commencing on the following page.

Prudential Standard LPS 520
Fit and Proper

Objectives and key requirements of this Prudential Standard
Persons who are responsible for the management and oversight of a life company or a registered non-operating holding company (registered NOHC) need to have appropriate skills, experience and knowledge and act with honesty and integrity. This strengthens the protection afforded to policyholders and other stakeholders. To this end, regulated institutions (comprising life companies and registered NOHCs) need to prudently manage the risk that persons in positions of responsibility may not be fit and proper.
The prime responsibility for ensuring that a regulated institution’s responsible persons are fit and proper remains with the Board of directors, or, in the case of an eligible foreign life insurance company as defined in the Life Insurance Act 1995, by the Compliance Committee.
This Prudential Standard applies to life companies and registered NOHCs under the Life Insurance Act 1995. It sets out minimum requirements for these regulated institutions in determining the fitness and propriety of individuals to hold positions of responsibility.
The key requirements of this Prudential Standard are that:
·               a regulated institution must have and implement a written fit and proper policy that meets the requirements of this Prudential Standard;
·               the fitness and propriety of a responsible person must generally be assessed prior to initial appointment and then re-assessed annually (or as close to annually as practicable);
·               a regulated institution must take all prudent steps to ensure that a person is not appointed to, or does not continue to hold, a responsible person position for which they are not fit and proper;
·               additional requirements must be met for certain auditors and actuaries; and
·               information must be provided to APRA regarding responsible persons and the regulated institution’s assessment of their fitness and propriety.
Authority
1.             This Prudential Standard is made under subsection 230A(1) of the Life Insurance Act 1995 (the Act).
Application
2.             This Prudential Standard applies to:
(a)           all life companies, including friendly societies; and
(b)          non-operating holding companies (NOHCs),
registered under the Act. Life companies and registered NOHCs are collectively referred to as regulated institutions.
Fit and Proper Policy
3.             A regulated institution must prudently manage the risk to its business or financial standing that persons acting in responsible person positions are not fit and proper. To this end, the regulated institution must have a written policy relating to the fitness and propriety of its responsible persons that meets the requirements of this Prudential Standard (Fit and Proper Policy).
4.            The Fit and Proper Policy must have been approved by the Board of directors (Board) or, in the case of an eligible foreign life insurance company as defined in the Act (EFLIC), by the Compliance Committee.[1]
5.            A regulated institution must take all reasonable steps to ensure that each of its responsible persons is aware of, and understands, the provisions of its Fit and Proper Policy.
6.            The Fit and Proper Policy must form part of a life company’s Risk Management Strategy required under Prudential Standard LPS 220 Risk Management.
7.            Nothing in this Prudential Standard prevents a regulated institution from applying a Fit and Proper Policy that is also used in a related company, provided that the policy has been approved by the regulated institution in accordance with paragraph 4 and meets the requirements of this Prudential Standard.
Responsible persons
8.            A responsible person of a regulated institution (other than an EFLIC) is:
(a)           a director of the regulated institution;[2]
(b)          a senior manager of the regulated institution;[3]
(c)           the auditor appointed by  the life company (Auditor);[4]
(d)          the appointed actuary of the life company (Appointed Actuary);[5]
(e)           for a registered NOHC, an auditor who is required to prepare a report under the Act (including prudential standards) or reporting standards under the Financial Sector (Collection of Data) Act 2001 (responsible auditor); or
(f)            a person who performs activities for a subsidiary of the regulated institution where those activities may materially affect the whole, or a substantial part, of the business of the regulated institution or its financial standing, either directly or indirectly.
9.            A responsible person of an EFLIC is:
(a)           a member of the Compliance Committee of the EFLIC;
(b)          a senior manager of the Australian operations of the EFLIC who is ordinarily resident in Australia;
(c)           the Auditor of the EFLIC;
(d)          the Appointed Actuary of the EFLIC; or
(e)           a person who performs activities for a subsidiary of the EFLIC that the EFLIC controls as part of its Australian operations, where:
(i)            those activities may materially affect the whole, or a substantial part, of the business of the Australian operations of the EFLIC or its financial standing, either directly or indirectly; and
(ii)           where the person is ordinarily resident in Australia.
10.        References to a subsidiary in subparagraph 8(f) or 9(e) do not apply to a subsidiary that holds an RSE licence under the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993.[6]
11.        A person need not be an employee of the regulated institution to be a responsible person if they are within the definition at paragraph 8 or 9. In some circumstances a consultant, contractor or employee of a subsidiary or otherwise related company may be a responsible person.
12.        APRA may determine that any person is a responsible person if APRA is satisfied that the person plays a significant role in the management or control of the regulated institution, or that the person’s activities may materially impact on prudential matters. The determination will be notified in writing to the regulated institution.
13.        APRA may determine that a person is not a responsible person in relation to a particular position, responsibility or activity if APRA is satisfied that the person does not play a significant role in the management or control of the regulated institution or that the person’s activities may not materially impact on prudential matters. The determination will be notified in writing to the regulated institution and may be subject to such conditions as APRA believes are appropriate.
14.        Responsible person position means the responsibilities or activities of a responsible person that would lead to the person being a responsible person under paragraph 8 or 9.
Senior managers
15.        Senior manager in relation to a regulated institution means a person (other than a director of that regulated institution) who[7]:
(a)           makes, or participates in making, decisions that affect the whole, or a substantial part, of the business of the regulated institution; or
(b)          has the capacity to affect significantly the regulated institution’s financial standing[8]; or
(c)           may materially affect the whole, or a substantial part, of the business of the regulated institution or its financial standing through their responsibility for:
(i)            enforcing policies and implementing strategies approved by the Board of the regulated institution;
(ii)           the development and implementation of systems that identify, assess, manage or monitor risks in relation to the business of the regulated institution; or
(iii)         monitoring the appropriateness, adequacy and effectiveness of risk management systems.
16.        For the purposes of the definition of senior manager in section 8 of the Act, the responsibilities set out in subparagraphs 15 (a), (b) and (c), when exercised for a regulated institution, are senior management responsibilities (except where carried out by a director).
Criteria to determine if a responsible person is fit and proper
17.        Each regulated institution must clearly define and document the competencies required for each responsible person position.
18.        For the purposes of paragraph 245A(3)(b) of the Act and for the purposes of determining whether a person is fit and proper to hold a responsible person position, the criteria are whether:
(a)           it would be prudent for a regulated institution to conclude that the person possesses the competence, character, diligence, honesty, integrity and judgement to perform properly the duties of the responsible person position;
(b)          the person is not disqualified under the Act from holding the position; and
(c)           the person either:
(i)            has no conflict of interest in performing the duties of the responsible person position; or
(ii)           if the person has a conflict of interest, it would be prudent for a regulated institution to conclude that the conflict will not create a material risk that the person will fail to perform properly the duties of the position.
Additional criteria for responsible auditors of registered NOHCs
19.        The additional criteria that must be met for a person to be fit and proper to act as responsible auditor[9] of a registered NOHC are whether the person:
(a)           is a registered company auditor under the Corporations Act 2001;
(b)          is not:
(i)            the Appointed Actuary of a life company that is a subsidiary of the registered NOHC;
(ii)           an employee of or director of a body corporate, statutory body, partnership, trust, or commercial or professional enterprise of any kind of which the Appointed Actuary is an employee or director; or
(iii)         a partner of that Appointed Actuary;
(c)           is a member of a recognised professional body; and
(d)          is ordinarily resident in Australia.
 
Additional criteria applying to Auditors of life companies[10]
20.        The additional criteria that must be met for a person to be fit and proper to act as Auditor of a life company are whether the person[11]:
(a)           is a registered company auditor under the Corporations Act 2001;
(b)          is not:
(i)                  the Appointed Actuary of that life company;
(ii)                an employee or director of a body corporate, statutory body, partnership, trust, or commercial or professional enterprise of any kind (entity) of which that actuary is an employee or director; or
(iii)               a partner of that actuary;
(c)           has a minimum of five years relevant experience in the audit of life companies and has experience relating to life companies that has been sufficiently relevant and recent to provide reasonable assurance that the person is familiar with current issues in the audit of life companies;
(d)          is a member of a recognised professional body; and
(e)           is ordinarily resident in Australia.
Additional criteria applying to Appointed Actuaries of life companies[12]
21.        The additional criteria that must be met for a person to be fit and proper to act as Appointed Actuary are whether the person[13]:
(a)           has appropriate formal qualifications;
(b)          is not the Chief Executive nor a director of the life company or of a related body corporate (except when that related body corporate is a subsidiary of the life company);
(c)           is not:
(i)            the Auditor of that life company;
(ii)           an employee or director of an entity of which that auditor is an employee or director; or
(iii)         a partner of that auditor;
(d)          has a minimum of five years relevant experience in the provision of actuarial services to entities carrying on life insurance business and it would be prudent to conclude that the person is familiar with current issues in the provision of actuarial services to life companies;
(e)           is a Fellow or Accredited Member of the Institute of Actuaries of Australia; and
(f)            is ordinarily resident in Australia.
Other matters relating to auditors and actuaries
22.        The criteria in paragraph 19 (other than subparagraph 19(a)), paragraph 20 (other than subparagraph 20(a)) or paragraph 21 do not apply while:
(a)           the regulated institution reasonably considers that there are exceptional circumstances;
(b)          the regulated institution has promptly notified APRA of which of the eligibility criteria are not satisfied and of the exceptional circumstances; and
(c)           APRA has notified the regulated institution in writing that APRA has no objections to the person holding the position.
23.        For the purposes of paragraphs 84(a), 85(1)(a), 93(3)(a) and 94(1)(a) of the Act, the eligibility criteria that must be met before a life company may appoint an auditor or actuary are the criteria listed at paragraphs 18, 20 and 21 as applicable (other than a criterion that APRA has determined under paragraph 22 does not apply in relation to a particular case).
Process for assessment of fitness and propriety
24.        The Fit and Proper Policy must include the processes to be undertaken in assessing whether a person is fit and proper for a responsible person position (fit and proper assessment). The processes must include:
(a)           who will conduct fit and proper assessments on behalf of the regulated institution;
(b)          what information will be obtained and how it will be obtained;
(c)           the matters that will be considered before determining if a person is fit and proper for a responsible person position; and
(d)          the decision-making processes that will be followed.
25.        The Fit and Proper Policy must specify the actions to be taken where a person is assessed as not fit and proper.
26.        The Fit and Proper Policy must provide that a copy of the Policy is given to:
(a)           any candidate for election as a director as soon as possible after the candidate is nominated; and
(b)          any other person before an assessment of their fitness and propriety is conducted.
27.        A fit and proper assessment must be completed for each responsible person within 28 days of this Prudential Standard applying to a regulated institution, if no assessment meeting the requirements of this Prudential Standard has been made within the previous year.
28.        The Fit and Proper Policy must require a fit and proper assessment to be completed before a person becomes the holder of a responsible person position unless they hold the position:
(a)           because of a resolution of members of the regulated institution; or
(b)          because APRA has determined that the person is a responsible person under paragraph 12.
In such cases, the Fit and Proper Policy must require an assessment to be completed within 28 days of the person becoming the holder of the responsible person position.
29.        Interim appointment to a responsible person position may be made without a full fit and proper assessment for a period of up to 90 days (or longer with APRA’s written agreement) including any prior period of interim appointment. Prior to making such an appointment, reasonable steps must be taken, as specified in the Fit and Proper Policy, to assess the fitness and propriety of the person. The regulated institution must complete a full fit and proper assessment prior to appointing the person to the responsible person position on a permanent basis.
30.        The Fit and Proper Policy must require annual fit and proper assessments (or as close to annual as is practicable) for each responsible person position.
31.        When an assessment is conducted, a regulated institution must make all reasonable enquiries[14] to obtain information, including collecting sensitive information as defined in the Privacy Act 1988 (Privacy Act), that it believes may be relevant to an assessment of whether the person is fit and proper to hold a responsible person position.
32.        Where a responsible person has been assessed as fit and proper, but the regulated institution subsequently becomes aware of information that may result in the person being assessed as not fit and proper, the regulated institution must take all reasonable steps, including collecting sensitive information as defined in the Privacy Act if relevant, to ensure that it can prudently conclude that no material fitness and propriety concern exists. Where a concern exists, a full fit and proper assessment must be conducted.
33.        The Fit and Proper Policy must contain adequate provisions:
(a)           to encourage any person to disclose information that may be relevant to a fit and proper assessment to the regulated institution or APRA;
(b)          to enable the disclosure to APRA of any information the regulated institution is required to provide under this Prudential Standard; and
(c)           for giving or obtaining any consents required for the collection and use of any information:
(i)            by the regulated institution to comply with the Fit and Proper Policy or this Prudential Standard; and
(ii)           by APRA for its powers and functions under the Act.
34.        The Fit and Proper Policy must require that sufficient documentation for each fit and proper assessment is retained to demonstrate the fitness and propriety of the regulated institution’s current, and recently past, responsible persons.
Whistleblowing[15]
35.         The Fit and Proper Policy must include adequate provisions to allow whistleblowing if a person believes that a responsible person does not meet the regulated institution’s fit and proper criteria. The Fit and Proper Policy must ensure that the regulated institution and its subsidiaries consent to the person notifying either the person responsible for conducting fit and proper assessments or APRA of that belief and the reasons for it.
36.        The Fit and Proper Policy must include adequate provisions to allow persons who believe that the regulated institution has not complied with this Prudential Standard to notify APRA of that belief and the reasons for it.
37.        The Fit and Proper Policy must provide that the regulated institution and its subsidiaries consent to any person who held a responsible person position disclosing information or providing documents to APRA relating to their reasons for resignation, retirement or removal.
38.        A regulated institution must not, and must ensure that its subsidiaries do not, constrain, impede, restrict or discourage, whether by confidentiality clauses, policies or other means, any person from disclosing information or providing documents to APRA about matters referred to in paragraphs 35, 36 or 37.
39.        The Fit and Proper Policy must require that any provisions of the policy encouraging whistleblowing are adequately communicated to directors and employees of the regulated institution and its subsidiaries who are likely to have information relevant to fit and proper assessments.
40.        APRA does not require that a regulated institution impose an obligation on any person to make the disclosures under paragraph 35, 36 or 37. However, the Fit and Proper Policy must require that all reasonable steps be taken to ensure that no person making such disclosures in good faith is subject to, or threatened with, a detriment because of any notification in purported compliance with the requirements of the Fit and Proper Policy.
When a responsible person is not fit and proper
41.        Where a regulated institution has assessed that a person is not fit and proper, or a reasonable person in the regulated institution’s position would make that assessment, the regulated institution must take all steps it prudently can to ensure that the person:[16]
(a)           is not appointed to; or
(b)          for an existing responsible person, does not continue to hold;
the responsible person position.
Informing APRA
42.        A regulated institution must, within 28 days of when this Prudential Standard applies to it, notify APRA of the following information for each responsible person:
(a)           the person’s full name;
(b)          the person’s date of birth (for identification purposes only);
(c)           the person’s position and main responsibilities; and
(d)          a statement of whether the person has been assessed under the Fit and Proper Policy.
43.        A regulated institution must ensure that the information provided under paragraph 42 remains correct for all of its responsible persons. It must provide revised information to APRA within 28 days of any change or new appointment.[17]
44.        A regulated institution must notify APRA within ten business days if it assesses that a responsible person is not fit and proper. If the person remains in the responsible person position, the notification must state the reason for this and the action that is being taken.
45.        The information or notifications required by this Prudential Standard must be given in such form, if any, and by such procedures, if any, as APRA publishes on its website from time to time.
46.        A regulated institution must take reasonable steps to:
(a)           obtain any information and documentation that APRA asks of it; and
(b)          provide that information to APRA
to assist APRA in assessing the fitness and propriety of a person. This may include providing the Fit and Proper Policy to APRA on request.
47.        APRA does not and will not require disclosure of spent convictions where precluded under Part VIIC of the Crimes Act 1914.
Adjustments and exclusions
48.        APRA may by notice in writing to a regulated institution adjust or exclude a specific prudential requirement in this Prudential Standard in relation to that regulated institution.[18]
 
 

[1]           ‘Compliance Committee’ as defined in subsection 16ZF(1) of the Act. 
[2]           ‘Director’ as defined in the Schedule to the Life Insurance Act 1995 to include, in relation to an eligible foreign life insurance company, a member of the Compliance Committee.
[3]           ‘Senior manager’ as defined in paragraph 15 of this Prudential Standard.
[4]           Auditor as required by section 83 of the Act and Prudential Standard LPS 310 Audit and Related Matters (LPS 310).
[5]           Appointed Actuary as required by section 93 of the Act and Prudential Standard LPS 320 Actuarial and Related Matters (LPS 320).
[6]           ‘RSE licence’ has the meaning given in subsection 10(1) of the Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993.
[7]           In relation to an EFLIC, references to a regulated institution in this paragraph refer only to the Australian operations of the EFLIC.
[8]           The definition of senior manager in relation to a regulated institution in subparagraphs 15(a) and (b) is intended to be interpreted consistently with the definition of senior manager in relation to a corporation in section 9 of the Corporations Act 2001.
[9]           For the purposes of paragraphs 245A(3)(b) of the Act, the criteria for fitness and propriety of a responsible auditor are those in paragraphs 18 and 19
[10]          Refer to LPS 310 for the purposes of section 84 of the Act.
[11]          For the purposes of paragraphs 245A(3)(b) of the Act, the criteria for fitness and propriety of an auditor are those in paragraphs 18 and 20.
[12]          Refer to LPS 320 for the purposes of section 93 of the Act.
[13]          For the purposes of paragraphs 245A(3)(b) of the Act, the criteria for fitness and propriety of an appointed actuary are those in paragraphs 18 and 21.
[14]         Including by following the processes described in the Fit and Proper Policy under subparagraph 21(b).
[15]          Also refer to the provisions for the protection of whistleblowers in Part VII Division 5 of the Act and the whistleblowing provisions in Prudential Standard LPS 510 Governance.
[16]         Including the actions outlined in the Fit and Proper Policy in accordance with paragraph 25.
[17]         Life companies must still comply with sections 87 and 95 of the Act; for auditors and actuaries life companies must notify APRA of appointment or cessation of service within 14 days.
[18]         Refer to subsection 230A(4) of the Act.
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