Andrew Bragg on the next wave of FinTech


James Riley
Editorial Director

The Coalition senator leading a government review of the FinTech sector is expected to outline early thinking on the next phase of policy reform aimed at boosting the startup sector in a speech to virtual event on Friday morning.

Senator Andrew Bragg, who chairs the Select Committee on Financial Technology and Regulatory Technology, will address a StartupAUS digital forum on Australia’s Tech Future, and then be joined in a panel discussion by AfterPay co-founder and chief executive Anthony Eisen, as well as Jacqui Purcell, the chief financial officer at local software maker Deputy.

The Senate committee handed down a 300-page interim report in early September with 30 recommendations, including calls for changes to the R&D Tax Incentive that would extend the scheme to better cover software companies.

Many of the recommendations in that interim report we ultimately adopted and delivered as policy in the Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s October budget, including measures on telehealth, digital identity reforms, the RDTI, and RegTech commercialisation.

Andrew Bragg
Andrew Bragg: The FinTech review has had big spillover benefits for the rest of the startup sector

The committee has now produced a second issues paper and will produce a final report – with additional recommendations – expected in March, in time for possible consideration in the context of the next federal budget in May.

The second issues paper makes clear that the committee is looking closely at the visa system for attracting top overseas talent, it is further investigating how governments Digital ID investment can be leveraged by both the private sector and other parts of the public sector, and is seeking new ideas to encourage R&D.

StartupAUS chief executive Alex McCauley says the second phase of the so-called FinTech Review is interesting because it is investigating strategies to encourage growth not just in FinTech, but across the broader Australian technology sector.

“It is worth noting that Andrew Bragg has been leading a lot of the work that is looking at how Australia can improve its tech sector and to develop a local industry,” Mr McCauley said.

“The aim is to grab some of the very large amount of value that tech is delivering to economies around the world,” he said.

“He is in the middle of a parliamentary review which has delivered an interim report and is now in it second phase. [Senator Bragg] is going to outline his vision for what he wants to do in that second phase of the review and where tech sits in terms of the government’s as the economy recovers from COVID.”

“Hopefully there will be some clear ideas about where the government wants to take the next steps to support the growth of the domestic tech sector.”

The nature of the policy areas identified in the committee’s second issues paper were not so much generic but were broad enough that changes will have a broad impact across the startup tech sector well beyond just FinTech and RegTech.

“It’s framed as a FinTech review, but as the work has gone on with the committee, it has become clear that the functions that support a great FinTech sector in Australia are actually functions that also support a great technology sector in Australia more generally,” Mr McCauley.

The StartupAUS digital forum – Australia’s Tech Future will run for a tight 45 minutes from 8.30am to 9.15 on Friday November 20. The event is open to all, at no cost.

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