What it does: Regulates the financial services industry
Staff stats: Around 600
The good bits: Interesting work
The not so good bits: Lower salary than the private sector
The Australian Prudential Regulation story
Following the privatisation and deregulation binge of the 1980s and early 1990s, the Federal Government established the Financial System Inquiry in 1996. It was tasked with proposing a regulatory system that would ensure an “efficient, responsive, competitive and flexible financial system to underpin stronger economic performance, consistent with financial stability, prudence, integrity and fairness”. (Previously Australia’s financial services industry was regulated by the Australian Financial Institutions Commission, Insurance and Superannuation Commission and Reserve Bank.)
The Financial System Inquiry recommended a statutory authority of the Federal Government be set up to oversee banks, building societies, credit unions, friendly societies, insurance companies and the superannuation industry.
On July 1, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (commonly referred to as APRA) was established to do exactly this. Ever since, it has supervised institutions holding assets for Australian bank customers, insurance policyholders and super fund members. With considerable success across two decades, APRA has ensured those entities that make up the financial services industry remain financially sound and able to meet their obligations to their clients.
APRA’s workplace diversity strategy “takes a pro-active and innovative approach in creating a flexible and inclusive employment environment that values and utilises the contribution of people of different backgrounds, experiences, perspectives and abilities”. APRA offers an extensive range of flexible work arrangements to allow staff to meet family and other commitments.
APRA staff play a vital role in protecting the financial wellbeing of almost every Australian citizen by overseeing around $6 trillion of bank deposits, super contributions and insurance premiums. APRA also has a workplace-giving scheme that allows donations to be taken directly from an employee’s salary.
The recruitment process
APRA recruits graduates who’ve achieved at least a minimum credit average in, but not limited to, the following disciplines: actuarial studies, banking, commerce, economics, econometrics, finance, financial modelling, law, mathematics, public policy and statistics. Those from other disciplines may be considered if they are high achievers with impressive research and analytical skills. The grad program is currently only available at APRA’s Sydney and Melbourne offices.
The recruitment process stretches over six months and starts with an online application. Applications are screened and those who make the shortlist are invited to undertake online testing and a video interview. Next, you’ll be invited to attend (at your own cost) an assessment centre in Sydney where you will be participating in practical and written assessments as well as a structured interview. The final hurdle is a ‘second-stage’ interview. If that goes well, you’ll be asked to complete a behavioural profile and reference checks will be conducted. If you are the preferred candidate, you will receive an offer.
Those who get a spot take part in a 12-month training and development program focused on building their technical and professional skill sets. While it can’t (quite) match private sector salaries and benefits, APRA offers “arguably the most rigorous training and development in the finance industry”. This involves project-based work, rotations, secondments, mentoring and support from a buddy. Grads also get “unmatched exposure to the Australian banking, insurance and superannuation industries”.
APRA’s funding is provided by the industry it regulates rather than the taxpayer, and it offers unusually lavish benefits for a public-sector employer. Staff are provided with subsidised gym memberships and sporting activities. They can access wellbeing and financial seminars, as well as get flu vaccinations and health checks. There are also performance bonuses on offer for strong performers. Once you’ve completed the grad program, you can expect to be on around $75,000 with plenty of scope to increase that figure if you perform well.
After finishing the grad program, you’ll be promoted to the role of Analyst. APRA will promote strong performers to a higher rank even if there isn’t currently a job vacancy available for them to step into.
The vibe of the place
APRA combines most of the good aspects of the public and private sectors. Staff are well looked after but also get to enjoy a good work-life balance and enviable degree of job security. While a clear hierarchy exists, those at the top of it are approachable. There are lots of social events and staff often go out for social occasions at the end of the working day.
Star Rating: 4.3 stars
From the Employer:
APRA offers unparalleled exposure to the world of banking, insurance & superannuation as we work with the executive boards and senior members of the industries we regulate.
Our vision is to be a world-class integrated prudential supervisor recognised for its leadership, professionalism and innovation.
Our core mission is to establish and enforce prudential standards and practices designed to ensure that, under all reasonable circumstances, financial promises made by institutions we supervise are met within a stable, efficient and competitive financial system.
Our values of collaboration, integrity, accountability, foresight and professionalism guide our work and everyday dealings.
APRA requires a range of skillsets from frontline supervisors across banking, insurance and superannuation, statistics/mathematics gurus, policy advisors, legal professionals, risk specialists in areas such as credit, operational, market and liquidity risk to help deliver our mission.
The Graduate Program
We offer opportunities to graduates who are passionate about the financial stability of Australia. As one of our graduates, APRA provides you with a structured 12-month training and development program that focuses on building your technical and professional skillset. You will also benefit from a mentoring program, as well as a ‘buddy’ system and the opportunity to rotate to another APRA division in your first year.
For more information and to apply please visit our graduate website."