21 March 2016
Media Release - #2016032, 2016

Supporting Australia’s FinTech future

The Turnbull Government today released its statement on Australia’s FinTech future recognising that financial technology, or FinTech, is transforming our financial system and our economy.

FinTech stimulates technological innovation and the Turnbull Government’s FinTech statement sets out our vision for developing a strong and vibrant FinTech industry in Australia to help boost jobs and growth in our transitioning economy.

The statement forms part of our National Innovation and Science Agenda and demonstrates our credentials for backing innovation in financial services.

Australia already has a sophisticated, competitive and profitable financial sector underpinned by a strong regulatory system. As financial services become more globalised and technological disruption more relevant, we need to keep pace with innovation in banking and finance to stay competitive.

The Turnbull Government is creating an environment where Australia’s FinTech sector can be internationally competitive and energise the broader local economy by attracting and keeping talented entrepreneurs in Australia.

We are working closely with the Government’s new FinTech advisory group and the FinTech Australia association to develop several new measures to support the FinTech industry.

The Government’s actions to support the FinTech industry include:

  • Ensuring access to concessional tax treatment for venture capital investments in start-up FinTech firms;
  • Commissioning the Productivity Commission to outline options to increase data availability and access to facilitate new products and better consumer outcomes;
  • Taking action to address the ‘double GST’ treatment of digital currencies, and;

The Government will also work with the FinTech industry on further reforms to:

  • Allow all companies regardless of assets and turnover to be eligible for Equity Crowdfunding;
  • Remove cooling off periods and allow platforms to use their discretion to cancel an investment for legitimate reasons;
  • Review Australian Market Licence (AML) requirements for crowdfunding intermediaries.

The Government will consult with the industry on the next phase of Australia’s crowd funding framework to ensure that the broader economy and wider business community can gain appropriate access to new and alternative equity funding options.

The Government also announced today, together with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), the release of new guidance notes for ‘robo-advice’, or digital financial product advice, to provide greater clarity to new providers of this advice to Australian consumers.

ASIC has also released guidance to assist providers of marketplace (also known as 'peer-to-peer') lending products, including information about legal obligations.

In addition, the Government has been working with ASIC on the development of a ‘regulatory sandbox’ for Australian FinTech. The Government is keen to develop a world leading ‘regulatory sandbox’ in Australia that will enable firms to manage regulatory risks during testing stages, reducing the cost and time to market products. At the same time, any ‘sandbox’ will need to provide for important consumer outcomes such as fit and proper checks, dispute resolution and consumer redress arrangements.

Access to comprehensive credit reporting (CCR) data will help drive further innovation in financial services. CCR is considered by many to be a vital part of Australia’s economic infrastructure. The Government has therefore tasked the Productivity Commission to examine the benefits and costs of improving availability and use of data across the economy. This will inform Australians about the potential for data availability to boost innovation in Australia to help us remain globally competitive.

FinTech is a positive disruption which a successful economy like Australia can and must embrace. Growing Australia’s FinTech capabilities will position Australia to seize new opportunities to develop export markets for our financial services technology in the transitioning economies of our major trading partners.

Developing this new sector means a stronger economy in transition for Australians, delivering more jobs and growth.

You can read the Government’s statement on FinTech.