The launch of the new Australian Fintech Association (AFA) has come with calls for regulatory reform to get Australia moving as Asia’s leading fintech ecosystem.

The AFA was launched at the first meeting of the new Fintech Advisory Group to the Treasurer, in Canberra, which was attended by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (pictured above right).

The association was born out of a meeting of fintech entrepreneurs, Stone & Chalk, reinventure, H2 Ventures, Tyro Payments gathering at the Tyro Fintech Hub in October last year. A lot of work has been accomplished.

In a recent discussion with the current resident entrepreneurs of the Tyro Fintech Hub, the following priorities were tabled:

  • Specialist fintech businesses require unique categories for regulatory purposes instead of burdensome exemption processes.
  • Regulators need to find effective consultative processes with industry, offer fast-track approval processes and a regulatory sandbox.
  • Regulators need to mandate standard open data APIs to enable interoperability and data access such as for RMBS issues.
  • Improved tax deductibility for founders and start-up employees, as well as quarterly paid  R&D concessions for deductions increased to 200 percent.
  • Broader rules for crowdfunding including private companies and for the asset and turnover eligibility tests.
  • Obligation for banks to match SMEs rejected for finance with alternative lenders.
  • Open up public procurement to innovation and competition by breaking up large contracts and tender them as a panel.

There is a lot at stake. In a recent EY report, Australia was ranked only fifth in terms of fintech ecosystems (with Germany) in the world behind jurisdictions in the UK, California, New York and Singapore (the US hubs are regarded as separate systems). If we want to become the leading fintech hub in Asia, we have to raise the game before the window of opportunity has closed.

The foundation members of AFA are Acorns Grow Australia, Apex Capital Partners, Banjo Loans, Best Exchange Rates, Brighte, CheckVault, Clover, Coinjar, CrowdFundUp, Equitise, Financial Ask, Fincast, FundX, H2 Ventures, Huffle, CapitalU, Macrovue, Manning Asset Management, MoneyBrilliant, MoneyPlace, Moula, OnMarket Book Builds, RateSetter Australia, Reinventure Group, SelfWealth, SocietyOne, Spotcap, Stockspot, Stone & Chalk, Thincats Australia, Timelio, the Tyro Fintech Hub, and Yodlee.

Image source.