The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) was established on 1 July 1998 as the prudential regulator of banks and other authorised deposit-taking institutions (ADIs), life insurance companies (including friendly societies), general insurance companies, superannuation funds and retirement savings accounts. ANAO's objectives for this audit were to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of APRA's prudential supervision of banks. Prudential supervision aims to protect depositors by ensuring that financial institutions adopt prudent risk management practices designed to ensure their continuing solvency and liquidity. APRA is a relatively new organisation, established in July 1998 and becoming responsible for prudential supervision of all ADIs from July 1999. ANAO concluded that there are steps APRA can take in a number of areas to improve its supervisory practices, including improving the administration of the ADI supervisory levy; strengthening its risk management approach; and maintaining closer adherence to international standards for prudential supervision issued by the Basle Committee on Banking Supervision. ANAO made five recommendations concerning administration of levies, risk-based supervision and supervision of cross-border banking. APRA agreed, or agreed with qualifications, to all recommendations, as well as agreeing with the overall audit conclusions.