Senate creates committee on fintech, regtech

Passed yesterday, the motion - brought by Senator Andrew Bragg -establishes a committee to inquire and report on fintech and regtech opportunities, barriers, and future trends.

It will examine the "size and scope" of the opportunity fintech and regtech may give for Australian consumers and business; barriers to the uptake of new technologies in the financial sector; and the progress in reforming fintech facilitation and how it compares to other global regimes.

Also to be looked at are current regtech practices and the opportunities for the regtech industry to not only strengthen compliance, but also to reduce costs.

Finally, the committee will inquire on how effective current initiatives are in promoting a "positive environment" for fintech and regtech start-ups.

The Committee will report back to the Senate in October 2020.

This development is the latest in a trend that sees the government looking towards technology as a solution to improve compliance in the wake of the Hayne Royal Commission.

At a Q&A session at the Institute of Public Administration last month, Prime Minister Scott Morrison spoke about how regtech could demystify the regulatory process of all three layers of Australian government.

After May's Federal election, the government named Senator Jane Hume as its first minister for financial technology.

ASIC is supporting development of regtech with its Innovation Hub, which offers informal assistance to eligible Australian regtech startups and scaleups to help develop their products and services.

The commission is also offering a regulatory sandbox for eligible fintech startups, which allows the companies to  test certain products or services for up to 12 months without an Australian financial services licence or credit licence.

The Financial Planning Association of Australia welcomed the creation of this committee and expressed its "full support".

"It is great to see Senator Bragg and his Senate colleagues recognise this developing area and pay it the attention it deserves," said FPA chief Dante De Gori.

"According to FinTech Australia there are over 400 fintech businesses across Australia already and the industry is growing rapidly, so this is an important acknowledgement of an existing and future reality."

Read more: Financial TechnologyFinancial Planning Association of AustraliaSenator Andrew BraggASICDante De GoriFinTech AustraliaFPAInnovation HubInstitute of Public AdministrationSenator Jane Hume
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