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Trans-Tasman fintech bond tightened with refreshed focus on innovation

20 Oct 2017

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Financial Markets Authority (FMA), a Kiwi Government agency, have reaffirmed their joint commitment to expanding opportunities in fintech and innovation.

The FMA and ASIC entered a wide-ranging Memorandum of Understanding in 2012 which was reinvigorated yesterday in Sydney as senior executives from both regulators came together to discuss opportunities and challenges in the fintech industry.

John Price, ASIC Commissioner, says, “We’re pleased to further develop our relationship with the FMA and demonstrate our collaborative approach in this space.”

“Across the Tasman we’ll continue to cooperate with the FMA and refer new businesses where they have an appetite to work in both jurisdictions.”

ASIC’s approach to innovation and fintech in Australia

Currently, AISC’s main focus is on the vital role that fintechs are playing in re-fashioning financial services and capital markets.

In addition to developing guidance about how these new developments fit into our regulatory framework, ASIC launched its Innovation Hub give fintechs and entrepreneurs a chance to understand how regulation might impact on them - without compromising investor and financial consumer trust and confidence.

In addition, the ASIC collaborates closely with other regulators to understand international developments, and to help entrepreneurs expand their target markets into other jurisdictions.

Some of ASIC’s referral and information-sharing agreements with other nations include: The Monetary Authority of Singapore; the United Kingdom’s Financial Conduct Authority; Ontario Securities Commission; Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission, and the Japan Financial Services Agency.

FMA's approach to innovation and fintech in New Zealand

Earlier this week, the FMA announced its decision to allow personalised robo-advice services in New Zealand following “strong support” for an exemption from the current laws preventing personalised robo-advice.

This means companies will be able to offer personalised robo-advice, a service where financial advice is provided by a computer using  algorithms.   

Providers will need to apply to use an FMA exemption from early 2018.

Moreover, earlier this year, the FMA established an Innovation Strategy Group (ISG) to monitor emerging trends in fintech.

The ISG aims to ensure a consistent, coordinated FMA approach to engaging with market participants and across government.

Supported by the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013, which aims to ‘promote innovation and flexibility in financial markets', the FMA wants to facilitate responsible innovation, and ensure that the regulatory regime remains relevant and agile.

Garth Stanish, FMA director of Capital Markets, comments, “ASIC and the FMA have a strong relationship in all the areas we regulate. Our mutual commitment to innovation and fintech is no different.”

“We’ll continue to share information and views on the regulatory issues arising from emerging technology and increasing innovation.”

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