The federal government has signaled intentions for further fintech reforms, especially around crowd-funding, in a bid to rapidly expand a sector which is "transforming our financial system."
Releasing the government's fintech statement yesterday, Treasurer Scott Morrison said potential reforms included: allowing all companies, regardless of assets and turnover, to be eligible for equity crowd-funding; removing cooling off periods and allowing platforms to use their discretion to cancel an investment for legitimate reasons; and reviewing Australian Market Licence (AML) requirements for crowd-funding intermediaries.
The fintech statement complements the government's innovation statement released in December and Morrison said 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."
Morrison said the government has also been working with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) on the development of a "regulatory sandbox" for Australian fintechs. He said this would enable firms to manage regulatory risks during testing stages, and potentially reduce 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," Morrison said.
Following Morrison's speeches, financial data repository InvestmentLink announced the launch of a new service specifically developed for the fintech sector.
InvestmentLinkRT (ILRT) will provide software developers an expanded data link directly into their applications, allowing for further product development. It extends the range of data feeds already available through InvestmentLink, allowing users access to a hybrid data source of more than 600 direct and client-authorised feeds.
InvestmentLink said client-authorised feeds will be delivered in minutes and will cover feeds that have until now been difficult to obtain, such as individual bank, mortgage, credit card, loan, term deposit, industry superannuation fund, self-managed superannuation and direct share accounts.
Launching the fintech statement at Stone & Chalk yesterday, Morrison said the government's actions to support the industry already included: 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; and addressing the 'double GST' treatment of digital currencies such as bitcoin.
Morrison said Treasury is working closely with the government's new fintech advisory group and the FinTech Australia association to develop several new measures to support the industry.