Australia, China: new FinTech BFFs

James Riley
Editorial Director

Financial services industry regulators in Australia and China have signed an information sharing agreement that aims to “promote innovation in financial services in their respective markets”.

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) and one China’s financial sector regulators, China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) say the arrangement should make it easier for FinTech companies to better navigate the requirements of each market.

The information co-operation agreement sets out how the regulators can share information about emerging market trends and developments, regulatory developments related to innovation in financial services, as well as RegTech trials.

Danielle Szetho: Australia is seeking relationships with top FinTech nations

“Co-operation between regulators is essential to realise the benefits of the technological revolution. Understanding new developments and their impact in overseas markets helps us to remain proactive and forward-looking in our domestic approach,” said ASIC chairman Greg Medcraft.

“This agreement represents an exciting opportunity for us to learn more about the Chinese FinTech sector, which is renowned for its success and dynamism. We also look forward to sharing our insights and experiences on regtech with the CSRC.”

China is a huge opportunity for Australian FinTechs. ASIC points out that digital payments transacted in China make up almost half of the total global volume, and the total investment in Chinese tech ventures was approximately $13 billion in 2016.

FinTech Australia chief executive Danielle Szetho said the agreement was timely given the most recent EY FinTech Australian census data found 12 per cent of Australian FinTechs are proposing to expand to, or expand further into, China within the next 12 months.

“China is without doubt the biggest market for FinTech and blockchain innovation in the world,” Ms Szetho said.

“Australia and China have plenty to learn from each other – one as a fast-moving economic powerhouse that is rapidly reaching maturity, and another that is very highly regarded worldwide as a well-regulated and safe consumer environment,” she said.

“We hope this greater engagement between our regulators will begin to unlock opportunities for Australian and Chinese FinTech companies as they seek to partner and expand into each other’s markets.”

To date, FinTech referral and information-sharing agreements have also been signed with counterparts in Singapore, Hong Kong, the UK, and Japan, Malaysia, Abu Dhabi, and Switzerland.

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