The Government is hoping to establish Australia as a fintech hub in the region by tapping into the expertise of bank-backed accelerators and others innovating in the payments space.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Treasurer Scott Morrison have created an expert advisory group that will be chaired by Stone & Chalk chairman Craig Dunn.
Stone & Chalk is already one of Australia’s leading fintech hubs, supported by a range of financial institutions, technology companies and consultancies.
The advisory group also includes executives from CBA and Westpac, the Westpac-funded Reinventure accelerator, and payments companies like Paypal, Coinjar, Tyro Paymens, among others.
“Although Australia is a leading financial services market in the region, the sector is becoming increasingly globalised and exposed to technological disruption,” Turnbull said.
“Many traditional financial products are being disrupted by the fintech sector, which is well positioned to become a leading player in the Asia-Pacific.”
The Government said that financial services is already Australia’s largest economic sector, employing 450,000 people and “contributing over $140 billion to the economy last financial year”.
However, it saw the potential for growth if it could build its credentials in the fintech space in the Asia Pacific region.
“Fintech is at the cutting edge of innovation and will help to deliver more efficient financial markets and more customer focussed outcomes for consumers,” Turnbull said.
“New approaches like crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending, mobile payments, digital currencies, and robo-advisers benefit consumers by increasing choice and stimulating more competition.”
Participants in the advisory group welcomed the chance to be involved and to build Australia’s fintech aspirations.
“This is an example of good, strong leadership that leverages the innovation expertise of both big and small players to build a stronger financial system that delivers better outcomes for people and businesses,” CBA’s group executive for institutional banking and markets and expert advisor Kelly Bayer Rosmarin said.
“We look forward to continuing to play an important role in financial innovation through investing in the latest technology developments that position Australia at the forefront of financial innovation and opens up avenues for exporting Australian-made ideas across the globe.”
Australian fintech players have increasingly looked to Asia in recent months to expand their reach.
MoneyPlace CEO Stuart Stoyan told StartupSmart late last year that it is presently a “crucial moment for the evolution of fintech in Australia”.
Stoyan believed that a major fintech player was yet to emerge in Asia. “This is where Australia’s opportunities lie,” he said.
A report by KPMG and H2 Ventures last year found Sydney was home to more fintech companies “than any other city in Asia”.
The NSW Government has used the statistic to back its investment in fintech, including in a recent program that brought interns to start-ups.