A new Senate inquiry into the FinTech sector should be the first step in the development of a national policy agenda for the sector, according to FinTech Australia general-manager Rebecca Schot-Guppy.
The Select Committee on Financial Technology and Regulatory Technology has officially launched its year-long inquiry into the FinTech and RegTech industries as potential areas of reform, and released an issues paper outlining where it will focus its attention.
The inquiry will not focus on FinTech startups, but rather how all businesses can utilise FinTech and RegTech innovations, committee chair Andrew Bragg said.
“This inquiry is not about big or small businesses or startups; it is about all Australian businesses being as innovative as possible to create the next wave of employment growth,” Senator Bragg said in the issues paper.
“The inquiry will look to ensure the best Australian ideas can be taken to market in Australia and equally that Australia can attract global capital to generate future employment.”
The paper identifies the five key factors for ensuring national competitiveness in the sectors: capital and funding, tax, skills and talent, culture and regulation.
In terms of funding and capital – a “life or death issue” for FinTechs – it will specifically be an investigation of the research and development tax incentive, schemes to attract private equity and venture capital, and the tax treatment of these companies.
The inquiry will also look at means to attract overseas talent to local companies, such as the Temporary Skills Shortage visa and the Global Talent Scheme.
It will also investigate how to foster a better culture of “startup success”.
“Developing Australia’s local FinTech culture is imperative to help foster innovation and make Australia a world leader in FinTech. We want our neighbours to look to Australia for technological innovation,” Senator Bragg said.
“This requires existing national champions in the tech space, such as Atlassian, as well as emerging players to help drive industry culture forward in Australia and ensure that we are not simply copying what has worked elsewhere.”
The committee will also be looking at how the Consumer Data Right scheme can be better tailored for FinTechs, and how FinTech and regtech solutions can be applied to a range of sectors in Australia.
The issues paper has been hailed as a “watershed moment” for industry group FinTech Australia, with most of the topics raised echoing the organisation’s own policy agenda.
“In our eyes, it is a first step towards a national FinTech agenda. As a result, we support this inquiry, this issues paper and the points that have been raised,” Ms Schot-Guppy said.
“We’re incredibly pleased to see government taking proactive steps on forming a national agenda for our FinTech industry. As it points out in the issues paper, many other hub countries such as the UK and Singapore, have taken proactive measures to promote the growth of this sector – and the employment opportunities it provides.”
The committee is due to report back by October 2020, and is accepting submissions until the end of this year.
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