ASIC, UK financial regulator ink fintech start-up deal

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ASIC, UK financial regulator ink fintech start-up deal

Regulators agree to share information on emerging trends.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has forged an agreement with its UK counterpart to assist new fintech providers to enter each others’ markets.

The co-operation agreement [pdf] sets out that the two regulators will share information about issues relating to the emerging fintech sector. This includes details of market trends and regulatory issues.

The document also sets out the creation of a referral mechanism between the two regulators’ “innovation hub” programs.

In April last year, ASIC formed an innovation hub designed to help fintech providers navigate financial regulation, support them through the authorisation process, and engage with the regulator.

Since its creation, the program has provided assistance to more than 75 “innovative” fintech companies and issued financial services licences to 10 fintech start-ups, ASIC said.

A similar scheme was set up in the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in April 2014, which it said has so far assisted supported over 200 fintech businesses, including licencing 18.

The referrals process means that a financial services business receiving support from ASIC’s innovation hub will be eligible for assistance from the FCA, and vice versa.

In a statement, ASIC chairman Greg Medcraft said the agreement would help reduce barriers to entry in the fintech market.

“ASIC is committed to encouraging innovation that has the potential to benefit financial consumers and investors,” Medcraft said.

“In particular we have dealt with robo or digital advice, crowdsourced equity funding, payments, marketplace lending and blockchain business models.”

The agreement comes after the federal government last year adopted the majority of recommendations made in the financial systems inquiry report, including for a finance public-private sector innovation committee.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull subsequently formed an advisory group made up of experts in financial services technology in an effort to make Australia the Asia-Pacific's fintech hub.

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