Kean spruiks new RegTech plans

David McClure

RegTech and its best mate FinTech are on the boil in Australia, and NSW wants to maintain the lion’s share of these money-tech businesses, according to the state’s Innovation Minister Matt Kean.

At the CeBIT Australia tech show in Sydney’s Darling Harbour this week, Mr Kean was talking up Sydney’s RegTech and FinTech chops for all he was worth.

Praising Australia’s ‘world leading financial services regulatory system’, Mr Kean touted Sydney as the place to grind out finance apps.

Matt Kean: RegTech is a next big thing, and a logical target for FinTech obsessed NSW

“Sydney is home to seven of the top 100 FinTech companies making us not only the leading FinTech hub in Australia but also in Asia,” said Mr Kean.

“Nearly 16 per cent of Australian startups are FinTech startups. And NSW is home to more than half of the 350 FinTech firms in Australia.”

There’s jobs and growth aplenty forecast for finance technology in Australia’s with the sector expected to be worth $4.2 billion by 2020, based on an annual compound growth rate of more than 75 percent.

Editor’s note: will host its inaugural RegTech Australia 2017 forum on Wednesday June 7 in Sydney.

At CeBIT Australia, Mr Kean enthused over the NSW government’s support of the Financial Services Knowledge Hub which was cranked up back in 2015.

“The Financial Services Knowledge Hub works to make the NSW business environment more attractive, and the state’s financial services sector more innovative and competitive, all through industry-led projects,” he said. The hub would help inform the NSW Government’s Financial Services Strategy.

“The NSW Government’s Financial Services Strategy aims to increase these opportunities with a view to supporting the sector’s growth and our state’s status as a global FinTech and financial services centre,” said Mr Kean.

“This is how we can identify new opportunities and challenges to accelerate innovation and technological change such as RegTech and block chain,” he said.

The strategy will develop key initiatives for the NSW Government in collaboration with industry. Mr Kean said the finance hub was working on a report to reveal further growth opportunities for NSW FinTechs.

In September last year, the Committee for Sydney, the co-ordinator of the finance hub, produced a report on the regulatory barriers faced by FinTechs which made a number of recommendations including more regulatory support for business models that operate wholly or partly outside ASIC’s jurisdiction, such as those falling under the remit of APRA, AUSTRAC, the Privacy Commissioner and the RBA.

ASIC for its part already has an Innovation Hub and a regulatory sandbox facility , both of which interface with FinTech businesses.

However, the regulatory barrier report said that while ASIC’s sandbox initiative was welcome, more work was needed.

“The current ASIC proposal is too narrow in terms of limiting sandbox participants to largely robo-advice providers with excessive restrictions on services and products permitted.

“We recommend linking the sandbox initiative to the broader legislative agenda to facilitate support for a wider range of initiatives by introduction of new laws,” the report said.

While Mr Kean went hard on startups and hubs at CeBIT, his federal counterpart Arthur Sinodinos spent his CeBIT time spruiking federal efforts to make it easier for business to deal with government using digital reform.

“Government needs to be an exemplar in how we use digital technology and data to delivery better information and services. So we’re investing in a national business simplification initiative with our state governments.

“And in the last budget, we also included $9.1 million to simplify business registrations and licensing and permit information,” said the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science.

Describing form reform as ‘unsexy, unglamorous,’, Mr Sinodinos said it was vital for speeding the velocity of business.

“If you are a business, let’s say you’re a café in parts of Sydney, and it’s taking you 18 months, countless forms, countless calls to people to get a business registered – let’s say it’s a café – we are reducing the time it takes, through initiatives like this, from 18 months to 3 months, in cooperation with our state colleagues.

“In doing that we link our business registration services with, among other things, Service NSW with its Easy to do Business program. We want people to actually look forward to dealing with government.

“I have to register my car every so often here in NSW; I now look forward to going to Service NSW and doing it. I’m met by a concierge, I’m given a ticket, I’m screened for which line I’m meant to be in, and it doesn’t take very long to get served; so the back office has been modified to make it easy to do business,” said Mr Sinodinos.

For those interested, speakers at the RegTech Australia 2017 forum include:

  • Jost Stollmann, Founder, Tyro Fintech Hub
  • Rebecca Lim, Chief Compliance Officer and Group General Counsel, Westpac Group
  • Liming Zhu, Research Director, Software and Computational Systems, Data61
  • Julian Fenwick, Chair, The RegTech Association
  • Sophie Higgins, Assistant Director – Regulation and Strategy, Office of the Australian Information Commissioner 
  • Angela Jamieson, National Manager, Compliance, AUSTRAC
  • Bruce Wren, Chief Executive Officer, Wordflow
  • Mandy Symons, Co-founder, Red Marker
  • Paul Nailand, Founder and Managing Director, Visual Risk

Further details of the RegTech Australia 2017 forum can be found here. Or you can book your seat here for the event.

Do you know more? Contact James Riley via Email.

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