The Federal Government plans to put customers first in the booming digital economy, as fintech regulation is further relaxed.
Addressing more than 300 people at ACS’ Digital Economy Breakfast event in Sydney, the Treasurer of Australia, the Hon Scott Morrison, spoke of Australia’s emergence as a fintech powerhouse.
“Fintech is another dynamic area where the Turnbull government has been methodical in positioning Australia as a world leader,” he said.
“This revolution is offering consumers and businesses the chance to benefit from the new services and products, providing greater choice through increased competition and efficiency across the financial system.”
Combining the financial services provided by banks and accounting firms, with the technological disruption that is shaping the digital economy, fintech is viewed by the Australian government as a lucrative opportunity.
ACS President Anthony Wong addresses guests.
And it’s not just the government taking advantage of the opportunities the fintech sector brings.
“The number of fintech start-ups in Australia has increased from less than 100 in 2014, to 579 companies in July 2017 and the positive trend in Australian fintech investment has continued into the first half of this year,” Morrison said.
He explained that this growth had been driven by positive consumer uptake of new technologies.
“We have a solid home-ground advantage, with Australian consumers adopting fintech at a rapid rate – we’re currently ranked fifth on the EY fintech adoption index,” he said. “Australia’s high ranking means we’re an attractive market to launch and expand fintech products.”
These high adoption rates also bring power back to the consumers, he said, with a competitive industry forcing even the biggest players to stay agile.
“Consumers stand to benefit, with the major banks swinging into action to set up their own innovation hubs and incubators, and enter into fintech partnerships and collaborations,” he said
“I’ll pay credit to the banks -- don't follow -- because what started off as a real threat, is now being embraced for one particular reason – it’s good for customers, and at the end of the day, businesses are about the customer.
“And there’s a coming together in the fintech sector between large and small firms alike, in doing what’s best for the customer.”
While all things seemingly point towards Australia securing its position as a global leader in the fintech sector, Morrison believes the government must ensure it creates the right landscape for this to happen.
“Our asset regulatory sandbox, which supports fintechs in a commercial world, combines tax incentives with regulatory concessions to ensure that they can get up and away,” he said.
“As we’ve already announced, the Turnbull government will move to legislate an enhanced regulatory sandbox to enable more firms to take advantage of this world-leading initiative.
“This will make it, arguably, the most forward-positioned regulatory sandbox fintech in the world.”
The Treasurer also spoke about the ATOs’ recent changes to remove the double taxation on digital currencies and the benefits this will bring Australian fintech.