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InnovationAus

FinTech and RegTech industry eager to work with new government

Despite an election campaign with no explicit commitments to FinTech or RegTech policies, industry bodies say they are ready and willing to begin working with the new government.

FinTech Australia and the RegTech Association say they had productive relationships with the Coalition and hope the incoming Labor government carries a similar sentiment. The RegTech Association admits that their past relationship with Labor had been superficial, but are confident in the ability to “cement many relationships and build on this” with the new government.

(L to R) RegTech Association chief executive Deborah Young and FinTech Australia chief executive Andrew Porter

FinTech Australia chief executive Andrew Porter hopes that Labor will continue the work on rolling out the Consumer Data Right and cryptocurrency regulation started by the Coalition government.

“We’ll be very keen to pick up discussions with the new ministers straightaway to get an idea, particularly around crypto regulation…to really see how that innovation will continue to evolve. We’ll always call for regulation that doesn’t stymie that innovation, but obviously protects consumers as well,” Mr Porter said.

“I don’t think there’s actually been a lot of policies around cryptocurrency regulation coming out, so we’d be very keen to get a clear indication. But at this point obviously it’s very early days…I’m excited to see how the government actually interact with industry going forward.

“But we’re certainly encouraged though, by the discussion towards the end of that election campaign, particularly the $1 billion tech investment fund that the Labor Party discussed. I’m also very buoyed by the role that Ed Husic has played, particularly in his role as shadow innovation spokesperson. He’s been very active in really wanting to learn more about innovation and how tech innovation is reshaping the economy.”

He also welcomed Labor’s commitment creating 1.2 million tech jobs by 2030, but reiterated that the shortage faced by FinTech firms is an immediate problem.

“It would have been nice to see some solutions there around the global talent visa, maybe suddenly increasing places available, and easing that process to bring talent in to really fix what is an immediate problem for many of our members and for many of the participants in the FinTech industry,” Mr Porter said.

“Particularly for [FinTech Australia] members that are startups these guys are finding it very hard to compete with the bigger institutions and the banks who are able to afford a growth in wages. One key item for us is to see what can be done to try and ease this immediately and help, particularly the smaller startups and the scaling businesses to add developer talent in particular.

“There’s scenarios where businesses, and I know of three businesses myself, that built developer talent and developer teams in Ukraine, and obviously now they’re facing a whole other issue.”

Chief executive of the RegTech Association Deborah Young acknowledged that her organisation’s relationship with the Labor party has been superficial, she looks forward to working with the new government. She shared her top priorities for the first 100 days of the new government with InnovationAus.com.

“We’d like to see the incoming Government support RegTech to an even greater degree. Expanding its thinking around applications for RegTech across an even wider range of regulated verticals. We enjoyed an open dialogue and open-door policy with the former Government and would want this to continue, expand and increase,” Ms Young said.

“RegTech is about creating trust for citizens, giving access to greater transparency and productivity making things more cost effective and efficient.”

Ms Young also said that the RegTech Association wants to see the incoming government put a greater emphasis on supporting innovation to help Australian companies to scale into new export markets and industry segments.

In particular, she said the government should focus on making Australia a “fantastic destination to grow business with minimal barriers”. She also called on the government to attract “top companies” and reduce barriers to overseas talent.

“We’d like to see continued recognition from the PMC, Science and Industry, Trade and Financial Services Portfolios that RegTech can enable productivity and efficiency bringing vital trust and better data capabilities to make informed decisions, enable better regulation,” Ms Young said.

“We’d like to see continuing recognition that government can be a significant buying segment for RegTech solutions to reduce red tape and bring efficiency – and this is world-leading!”

Citing figures from consultancy firm BCG, Ms Young said that Australia is the third largest RegTech hub in the world. In the long-term Ms Young said the government should continue to support early stage and scale-up stage RegTech companies. She also called for greater support for girls and women in STEM and for female entrepreneurs.