Australia’s corporate regulator is backing financial tech startups

ASIC chairman Greg Medcraft. Photo: Pritchitt Partners

Supporting Australia’s financial technology sector, Australia’s corporate regulator will launch a Digital Finance Advisory Committee and it’s music to the sector’s ears.

Greg Medcraft, chairman of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission, speaking in Sydney this week, said ASIC would set up the committee which would include members of the fintech community, to make it easier for startups to navigate the regulatory system.

“The great drawcard of digital disruption is the opportunity it brings. Digital disruption offers new forms of access, greater competition, and greater efficiency,” Medcraft said.

ASIC is also looking at streamlining its approach to boost fintech and will look at implementing simpler application processes for issues like applying for licences and granting waivers for some regulations.

“To businesses wanting to introduce ground-breaking financial products or services thatgenuinely benefit consumers – ASIC is open for business. We are ready to help,” he said.

The regulator said it would throw its weight behind the $2 million Sydney-based fintech hub Stone & Chalk which has already attracted backing from corporate partners such as KPMG, ANZ Bank, Amazon and American Express.

Stone & Chalk CEO Alex Scandurra .

Business Insider contacted the corporate watchdog to clarify what form the committee would take, but a spokesperson said they would not be making any further comment at this point.

However, the fintech sector is pleased ASIC is taking an interest.

Alex Scandurra, Stone & Chalk’s CEO, said startups often find it difficult to navigate the regulatory environment and a commitment from the regulator to simplify the process was welcome news.

“It is heartening to know that the corporate regulator recognises that, and intends to put together an advisory grouping, which will be able to assist in making compliance with regulation easier and more straightforward for startups,” he said.

He added: “it is so important for Australia that everyone does their bit to help the fintech sector here thrive. As the country comes off the resources boom, fostering innovation and entrepreneurship will be crucial to the country’s future.”

Stone and Chalk will open in May at 45 Clarence Street in Sydney’s CBD and accommodate up to 150 entrepreneurs.

Australian payments company Tyro launched the city’s first fintech hub, also on Clarence Street, for up to 125 people, in a bid to take on the big banks.

Tyro boss Jost Stollmann has repeatedly called for the regulator to intervene and even-out the playing field in fintech for startups which are working to disrupt the big banks.