CreditorWatch data: Recovery to take longer than expected; Perth and Brisbane bouncing back quickest

The November 2021 CreditorWatch Business Risk Index (BRI) has revealed that business activity around Australia is currently weaker than expected, indicating that the return to pre-COVID levels is now likely to take longer than many pundits had anticipated.

The data also showed a jump in defaults, external administrations, payment arrears and court actions from October to November. However, credit enquiries rose 17 per cent, indicating that business confidence is improving.

Key Business Risk Index insights for November:

  • Australia’s economy fails to bounce back as strongly as expected post-lockdown.
  • Trade activity continues to fall.
  • Defaults, external administrations, payment arrears and court actions have jumped.
  • Credit enquiries jumped 16.6 per cent, indicating that business confidence is returning.
  • States that shut their borders but kept their internal economies going, such as WA and QLD, are seeing their metro areas bounce back fastest.
  • Melbourne and Sydney CBDs remain the worst performing capital city centres with probability of default at historic high-levels due to depressed trade activity continuing post-lockdown.
  • Credit behaviour and performance scores are improving among the hardest-hit Western Sydney suburbs including Bankstown, Burwood, Ashfield and Strathfield.

The nationality probability of default for November was flat – 5.79 per cent, compared to 5.80 per cent for October. The probability of default for Sydney and Melbourne CBDs is at record levels. The top five areas at most risk of default are:

  1. Merrylands – Guildford NSW: 7.73%
  2. Gold Coast – North QLD: 7.73%
  3. Bringelly – Green Valley NSW: 7.69%
  4. Canterbury NSW: 7.56%
  5. Coolangatta QLD: 7.50%

The number of defaults spiked higher by 53 per cent in November. Over the three months to November 2021 defaults were still down by 14.7 per cent.

CreditorWatch’s data showed that while business activity remains stubbornly depressed, it is the states that closed their borders but allowed their economic engines, capital cities and industries to continue to operate relatively lockdown-free that are now seeing the strongest bounce backs in metro areas. Meanwhile, businesses in the two cities that endured the longest lockdowns, Melbourne and Sydney, are experiencing record high probabilities of default.

“The increase in credit enquiries in November is an encouraging forward indicator of business confidence, however, there’s a long way to go before business activity is at pre-COVID levels. Worryingly, trade receivables continued to decline last month, and we also saw significant increases in defaults and administrations. Businesses in the Sydney and Melbourne CBDs in particular are at historically high probabilities of default,” says CreditorWatch CEO Patrick Coghlan.

The CreditorWatch Business Risk Index predicts the likelihood of businesses defaulting over the next 12 months across more than 300 regions around the country. The index utilises CreditorWatch’s proprietary data, combined with data the Australian Securities and Investments (ASIC) collects on more than a million local private businesses, among other variables.

Business activity remains stubbornly depressed post lockdown.

Despite the recent end to lockdowns in Melbourne and Sydney and Black Friday sales, small business trade activity remains weak. Many were hoping the first post-lockdown month would see a bump in business activity, however, CreditorWatch’s data paints a picture of a long and slow recovery.

November 2021 small business trade receivables were down 42.2% compared to November last year. Despite greater freedoms for consumers and businesses, ongoing supply chain constraints, labour shortages, cost pressures and uncertainty around emerging COVID variants are contributing to these weaker-than-expected results.

Perth and Brisbane CBDs significantly out-performing capital city peers

Western Australia and Queensland have had the strictest closed border policies throughout the pandemic, coupled with the least restrictive lockdown policies due to lower local case numbers.

This isolationist policy has had mixed results across business sectors within those states over the past two years, however, we are clearly seeing Perth and Brisbane as stand out performers over the last quarter.

In relative terms, Perth city has been the biggest mover up the BRI ranks among capital city CBDs over the past 12 months, in line with a strong performance across Western Australia as a whole, fueled by booming agribusiness and mining sectors.

Queensland is more of a mixed-bag with clear winners and losers.

As a state, Queensland has been the weakest performer over the past year, primarily driven by border closure impacts on the Gold Coast and other key tourism regions, offset to some extent by a strong performance by the agribusiness sector. However, Brisbane city has seen the largest improvement in insolvency risk and credit rating of any major city centre in Australia.

Probability of default by region

The top five regions at least risk of default are:

  1. Murray River – Swan Hill VIC: 3.69%
  2. Limestone Coast SA: 3.73%
  3. Grampians VIC: 3.75%
  4. Moree – Narrabri NSW: 3.76%
  5. Glenelg – Southern Grampians VIC: 3.80%

Why Murray River – Swan Hill?

This region scores better than average against other regions in Australia for rental and property costs, Riskscore, observed default rate and the CreditorWatch Default Rate. These factors have the largest weights and therefore influence in determining the risk of default. Other factors with smaller weightings such as the Index of Relative Social Advantage, Index of Economic Opportunity and Median Income are worse than average, while the Population Density is much better than average and together have less of an overall impact.

Top five areas at most risk of default are:

  1. Merrylands – Guildford NSW: 7.73%
  2. Gold Coast – North QLD: 7.73%
  3. Bringelly – Green Valley NSW: 7.69%
  4. Canterbury NSW: 7.56%
  5. Coolangatta QLD: 7.50%

Why Merrylands – Guildford?

All model factors for this region are below the Australian average except personal insolvency rate. The region was far worse than average for Riskscore, observed default rate and CreditorWatch Default Rate. This region was one of the hardest Western Sydney areas hit by extended lockdowns.

Probability of default by industry

Highest

  • Accommodation and Food Services: 5.25%
  • Arts and recreation services: 4.08%
  • Education and training: 4.01%

We are still seeing front-line service industries struggling to recover post lockdowns. They can’t just flick on a switch and get back to previous operations. Fortunes will progressively turn around and the December Christmas period should allow many businesses to up the ante. The education and training sector desperately needs overseas students but isn’t getting them. That is having an impact.

Lowest

  • Mining: 2.63%
  • Health Care and Social Assistance: 2.84%
  • Manufacturing: 3.00%

The mining industry is benefiting from strong commodity prices and health will be a growth industry as lockdown restrictions recede. Meanwhile, agriculture is reaping the rewards of bumper harvests and prices, but only in areas where they were fortunate enough to complete most of the harvest before the rains and floods arrived. Much of northern New South Wales, for example, achieved that.

Manufacturing in Australia is finding its legs after learning from the challenges of the 2020 lockdowns. In addition, there are positive stories in places like the M7 corridor in Sydney and parts of outer Melbourne as economies open up to foot traffic as well as enjoying continued online demand.

Payment arrears by industry 

Highest

  • Construction: 12.6%
  • Food and beverage services: 11.1%
  • Transport, postal and warehousing: 10.7%

These statistics tell a clear tale of what is occurring in the broader Australian economy. Construction was hard hit by mandatory industry shutdowns and now faces severe supply constraints in items such as timber. Food and beverage services suffered with so few businesses being fully open during lockdowns.

As people return to venues, this industry will thrive again, but there were enormous overheads to cover through the middle of 2021 and over the last two years in general. Businesses involved in transportation are being hit by strike action and global supply disruptions. A boom in online shopping is one thing, but these industries also need demand from bricks and mortar businesses, which they have not had for several months.

Lowest

  • Health Care and Social Assistance: 5.8%
  • Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing: 7.5%
  • Education and Training: 7.8%

Health Care and Social Assistance is heavily state-funded (and therefore implicitly ‘guaranteed’) and is still greatly influenced by COVID. Almost the entire agriculture industry is booming right now with some record harvests, strong demand and therefore better than usual income and cash flow. Education and Training benefits from government funding although conversely, it does traditionally display high rates of default.

Defaults 

The number of defaults spiked higher by 53 per cent in November, albeit that is not a seasonally adjusted number. It is a preliminary sign that Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME’s) are engaging with a post-lockdown period that isn’t entirely comfortable. It will be important to track how the number of defaults fares in approaching months.

Defaults are like other key contemporary CreditorWatch indicators such as external administrations and the number of court actions. While not seasonally adjusted, spikes of 15 per cent and 85 per cent in November, respectively, for these two measures simply can’t just be ignored.

Defaults are like other key contemporary CreditorWatch indicators such as external administrations and the number of court actions. While not seasonally adjusted, spikes of 15 per cent and 85 per cent in November, respectively, can’t just be ignored.

We may be on the cusp of SMEs facing the commercial reality of a post lockdown environment.

Court actions 

As noted above, the number of court actions spiked by 85 per cent in November, in original terms. Over the November 2021 ‘quarter’ court actions increased by 21 per cent to be up by 27 per cent compared to the same period last year. The number of court actions is at its highest since March 2020 and possibly signals a path back to normalised proceedings.

External administrations

The number of external administrations was up 15 per cent in November, the second consecutive monthly increase. This result follows consistent falls from June in the lockdown periods. We need to observe far more evidence before calling a post-lockdown return to normality, but events are moving in that direction.

Credit enquiries

The number of credit enquiries jumped by 17 per cent in November. This is the largest monthly increase since March. Over the November ‘quarter’, credit enquiries rose by seven per cent compared to the same period in 2020. We’re a long way off from cooking the roast, but a continued improvement in credit enquiries would provide a key leading indication of better business conditions and consequently overall economic activity.

Business turnover 

Business turnover continued to decline from October to November. On an annual basis business turnover dropped by 42 per cent in November, the twenty second consecutive drop and the sharpest during that time. This is a sign that the recovery will be protracted and very uneven across industries and geographical jurisdictions.

Outlook 

The economy is coming back from the contraction of the September 2021 quarter, but we are unlikely to see a consumer-led recovery where households begin spending the $400 billion in savings they have accumulated on a grand scale. The recovery will be patchy and will take time, although we will almost certainly avoid another contraction in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the December 2021 quarter. Off a positive base, the economy is expected to continue growing in 2022.


Media Contacts:
Hayley Schubert
Sling & Stone
hayleyschubert@slingstone.com 
0431 651 418

Mitchy Koper
GM Communications and Marketing, CreditorWatch
mitchy.koper@creditorwatch.com.au
0417 771 778


About CreditorWatch

CreditorWatch is a digital credit reporting agency, headquartered in Sydney. From sole traders through to ASX listed companies, more than 50,000 Australian businesses now use CreditorWatch to make affordable, informed credit decisions, avoid high-risk customers and ensure they get paid on time. CreditorWatch customers can easily search for and monitor the credit history, court actions, payment defaults and insolvency notices associated with any business entity in Australia (including sole traders, trusts and partnerships) giving them an incredibly accurate picture of the risk posed to their business.


The company was founded in 2011 and has offices in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Find out more at www.creditorwatch.com.au.

AUSSIE CRYPTO EXCHANGE IN LIONS PARTNERSHIP

Australian digital assets exchange Swyftx has today announced a major two-year partnership with the Brisbane Lions. 

The country’s top rated cryptocurrency exchange will join forces with the AFL team as its official Coaches Partner.

Swyftx chief executive officer, Ryan Parsons, said the Lions sponsorship capped an important year for the Brisbane-based exchange, which has grown its customer base by more than 1,200% since the start of 2021. 

“This partnership brings together the best AFL team in Australia and its most popular cryptocurrency exchange,” he said. “We’re both progressive teams with strong values so we’re delighted to be joining forces.” 

Chris Fagan is one of the most respected coaches in Australian sport, with a huge following and an exciting coaching team behind him. We’re looking forward to seeing what our two great Brisbane-based teams can build.”

Swyftx was founded in 2018 and currently supports more than 470,000 customers around the country. The multi-award winning company is Australia’s top-rated exchange on Trustpilot.

The two-year deal comes with an option for a further one-year extension.

Senior coach Chris Fagan thanked Swyftx for their support and described the success of the award-winning business as an inspiration to the coaches.

“As a coaching group we are always looking for ways to encourage growth in our players and to reward our stakeholders, which are our members and fans, with our performances,’’ he said.

“In Swyftx I see an organisation that has achieved incredible growth and delivered a first-class platform for their clients.’’


Image of the Lions Coach, Chris Fagan is available here

Contact
Swyftx Media Manager,
Tom Matthews

tom.matthews@swyftx.com.au
(0413 938247)


NOTE TO EDITORS 

  • Swyftx is Australia’s second largest cryptocurrency exchange by trade volume, with more than 470,000 customers across ANZ.
  • Swyftx is a multi-award winning exchange. In 2021, it was named High Growth Business of the Year and won the Excellence in Crypto Award at this year’s Finnies. 

Bubble trouble: Australians look to crypto for wealth building as four in ten see real estate as a bubble

As regulators, governments, banks and other investment platforms squabble over the viability of cryptocurrency as an asset, Aussies are voting with their wallets, declaring categorically that crypto is a long-term mainstream investment. According to YouGov research commissioned by crypto wealth platform Dacxi, Aussies are looking for alternative routes to build wealth away from traditional assets that have spiked in price such as the housing market. In fact, four in ten (40%) Aussies agree that real estate is currently in a ‘bubble’, which increases to 55% of those who own or have previously owned crypto. 

With this ‘bubble’ in mind, it has become apparent that Aussies are becoming sceptical of housing’s long-term returns, particularly amongst the millennial generation. While 30% of all Australian adults agree that crypto will generate more value over the next 10 years than  housing, that figure rises to almost half (45%) of millennials, in stark contrast to 27% of Gen X’ers and 15% of Baby Boomers.

The biggest divide however comes when you look at those who already own, or have previously owned cryptocurrencies. An incredible 81% of this group agree that crypto will generate more value than housing over the next ten years.

Dacxi CEO, Ian Lowe, said: “Vanguard has done incredible things for democratising access to traditional assets, but it has a blind spot when it comes to crypto. The next generation is looking for an alternative asset class they can have faith in that will perform well over the long term and that is accessible to younger, less established investors.”

The research shows that while 17% of respondents are considering turning to crypto to save for a house deposit, a significantly higher percentage (56%) are investing in crypto for the purpose of long-term investment/wealth building. 

Lowe continued: “This long-termism around crypto does, however, flag the need for investors to diversify their crypto investments. Going all-in on a single cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin is a higher risk play, even over the longer term, which is why we have created packages that include multiple different coins. Dacxi’s Blue Chip bundle allows investors to acquire blue chip crypto currencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and our Dacxi Coin in a single transaction.  Diversification, or a portfolio approach, has never been easier, and is an ideal entry point for first time and SMSF investors..”

Such is the belief in crypto that 29% of Aussies now agree it is important to include crypto as part of an investment portfolio, with 46% of millennials agreeing with this sentiment. 

And with young Australians finding it increasingly difficult to break into the housing market, especially those unable to rely on a loan from the bank of Mum and Dad, it’s unsurprising that millennials are leading the way when it comes to crypto investment, with 31% already owning one or more coin classes.

Dacxi CEO, Ian Lowe, said: “It’s clear that the days of cryptocurrency being perceived as a volatile mid to long term investment are largely behind us, with investors backing the growth we’ve seen by most of the big-name coins as a clear signal that it’s worth riding the short term bumps to achieve long term gains. 

“Bitcoin recently hit another all-time high of US$68,521, then dropped as low as US$53,701 over the following two weeks. Picking price peaks and troughs is nearly impossible, even for professional traders. However the 1 year and 3 year return on Bitcoin is 190.7% and 235.2% respectively*, returns that have significantly outperformed even the booming equities market. And other headline currencies like Ethereum also continue to perform strongly. It’s not a surprise then to see that our survey found these two coins are considered the most likely to offer the best returns over the next 12 months, with 58% of respondents and 47% respectively.

“The already-accepted legitimacy of digital currencies was only further enhanced in Australia when the Commonwealth Bank revealed earlier in November that it will become the first bank to allow customers to trade in up to 10 selected currencies.”

“When commissioning this research, we saw a gap emerging between customer activity on our platform and what was being reported in the media: so we set out to discover if Aussie investors are actually thinking of using the gains in crypto for short term goals like a house deposit. Instead we are finding the vast majority of investors are looking long term, which is a healthy approach to a rising asset class like cryptocurrency. 

“Cryptocurrency is truly on its way to the mainstream now, with 21% of adults or 4.2 million people already own crypto in Australia, while almost one in four (23%) say they are likely to purchase crypto in the next year,” Lowe concluded.

*Bitcoin price and changes as reported by CoinGecko as at 29 November, 2021


About Dacxi

Dacxi is a global technology company that empowers everyday investors to participate in the growing digital assets market. Its purpose-built platform provides access to a curated set of digital assets and asset classes, allowing investors to quickly and easily build and manage their investment portfolio. Dacxi is a global organisation with operations in Australia, New Zealand, UK, Europe, Brazil and Singapore.


For more information contact
Zanda Wilson
Media & Capital Partners
zanda.wilson@mcpartners.com.au
+61 411 066 554

 

Monoova and the NPP. Reimagining the real-time reconciliation of Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable

Payment-automation specialist Monoova is helping businesses benefit from the instant, always-on and data-rich capabilities of the New Payments Platform (NPP), driving the digital transformation of large, ongoing transaction flows to make managing business payments easy.

As one of a very small group of payment service providers to be enabled on the NPP, Monoova recognised the potential of this transformative piece of payments infrastructure early, innovating on top of Cuscal’s NPP solution and leveraging the platform’s capabilities to help businesses manage their payment workflows more effectively. Fully automating how business receive, make and reconcile payments in real-time.

Find out more – Reimaging real-time payments & reconciliations with Cuscal

loans.com.au makes car finance faster through connected insurance with Open

We’re thrilled to announce our partnership with InsurancePoint to bring powerful and simple insurance to more Australians.

InsurancePoint and loans.com.au are part of the Firstmac Group, an award-winning leader in lending in Australia for home and car loans.

loans.com.au’s car loan customers now have the option to purchase comprehensive car insurance through InsurancePoint as part of their online car loan application process. Open powers the insurance offer, end-to-end from quote to claim, with Hollard Insurance as underwriter.

Open and InsurancePoint – better together

InsurancePoint provides customers with the option to quickly purchase powerful and simple insurance within the loans.com.au onTrack application process – otherwise known as embedded insurance. “For a car loan to be approved, customers have to purchase car insurance. In a typical process this means buying insurance externally then forwarding a certificate of currency to a lender like loans.com.au as proof,” says Open’s Chief Customer Officer, Nicole Buisson.

Customers who purchase InsurancePoint cover have their certificate of currency automatically sent to the loans.com.au system. “Customers are always looking for a friendlier, more intuitive experience and evidencing their insurance this way makes for a smoother loan application process,” says Buisson.

“loans.com.au is pleased to partner with Open to offer car insurance to our customers. This partnership of FinTechs means customers can access both loans and insurance through fully digital offerings, with low loan rates and quick approvals,” says Marie Mortimer, Managing Director of loans.com.au.

InsurancePoint customers will benefit from insurance policy options such as Kanga cover and a Pay as You Drive.


About loans.com.au and the Firstmac Group

loans.com.au an award-winning online lender with thousands of happy customers across Australia. loans.com.au is proudly part of the Firstmac Group, a leader in lending for home loans and car loans in Australia with brands Firstmac, loans.com.au, CarLoans.com.au and car buying service OnlineAuto.com.au. They are Australia’s 12th largest lender, and the 3rd largest lender in Queensland, with $14 billion of loans under management.

Established in 1979, the Firstmac Group is an award-winning leader in lending in Australia for home and car loans, including brands Firstmac, loans.com.au, CarLoans.com.au and car-buying service OnlineAuto.com.au. They’re also providing insight into finance and property news with their Savings Media Group including comparison site Savings.com.au, Your Investment Property Magazine and Your Mortgage.


About Open

Open is on a mission to offer the fastest insurance, at the best price, for the world. Businesses of all sizes embed Open’s car and home insurance into their digital experiences.

Our flagship products are available under the Huddle brand, and also as a bespoke white-label solution. We work with many large brands and leading tech companies such as Telstra Plus, Plenti, ahm, and On by EnergyAustralia.

Open operates across Australia and New Zealand today, and soon will expand to the UK and Europe. We are proud to count Airtree Ventures (AU), Movac (NZ), Latitude (UK), Hollard Insurance (AU), Seven West Media (AU) and Five V (AU) amongst our investors. Open products are underwritten by Hollard Insurance in Australia and Tower in New Zealand.

We believe in using business as a force for good and are a certified B Corporation.

For more information visit beopen.com or contact media@beopen.com

Thought Machine raises $200m in Series C funding to bring world’s banks to the cloud

New investors JPMorgan Chase, Standard Chartered Ventures and ING Ventures join cap table and client list

  • Nyca Partners leads Series C round raising Thought Machine’s valuation to more than $1bn
  • New institutional investors include ING Ventures, JPMorgan Chase and Standard Chartered Ventures
  • Lloyds Banking Group, who led Thought Machine’s Series A round is also participating in this funding round and continues to invest in the business to maintain its shareholding

 

Thought Machine, the cloud native core banking technology firm, today announces the close of its series C funding round, bringing $200m into the business from new and existing investors. This new round sees Thought Machine achieve unicorn status.

This round was led by Nyca Partners, a New York and San Francisco-based venture capital firm, with investment also coming from the investment arms of some of Thought Machine’s global tier one banking clients – ING Ventures, JPMorgan Chase, and Standard Chartered Ventures. Existing investors Lloyds Banking Group, British Patient Capital, Eurazeo, SEB, Molten Ventures (formerly Draper Esprit), Backed, and IQ Capital have all participated in the round.

This announcement follows a period of accelerated growth as Thought Machine executes its internationalisation strategy and continues to deploy cloud native core banking technology into the world’s most ambitious banks and fintechs.

In October 2021, Thought Machine relocated to a larger London HQ to support its headcount growth after adding more than 200 employees since 2020.

Thought Machine will be using the funding to continue developing and expanding Vault. The firm intends to further develop Vault and its Universal Product Engine, which allows for unparalleled flexibility in product development and configuration. The company will expand its international reach, strengthening its five global offices and targeting new key markets to accelerate the adoption of cloud native core banking globally.

Founded in 2014 by former Google engineer Paul Taylor, Thought Machine provides modern, cloud native core banking technology to some of the largest and most ambitious banks in the world. Many of Thought Machine’s investors are also clients, including Lloyds Banking Group, Standard Chartered, SEB and others – signalling to the market Thought Machine’s critical role in the future of global banking technology.

Quotes

Paul Taylor, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Thought Machine: 

We are delighted to have earned the support of our new and existing investors as we continue to move the world’s leading banks into the cloud. We set out to eradicate legacy technology from the industry and ensure that all banks deployed on Vault can succeed and deliver on their ambitions. These new funds will accelerate the delivery of Vault into banks around the world who wish to implement their future vision of financial services.

Hans Morris, Managing Partner, Nyca Partners:

Thought Machine is the leading technology among the new generation of cloud native core platforms, and as a result it has become the top choice for tier one banks looking to upgrade their core architecture. These institutions tell us that Thought Machine’s engineering approach is unrivalled; Vault is highly configurable, flexible, scalable, and specifically designed for the complex environment and requirements of tier one banks. Investing in Thought Machine is an investment in the future of banking and we are very energized to be working with them as they build a new standard for core banking technology.

Alex Manson, Head of SC Ventures, Standard Chartered:

The deployment of Thought Machine is tied to our digital banking strategy, as we have adopted Thought Machine as the core banking software for our digital banks in Singapore and Hong Kong. Thought Machine’s cloud-native and agnostic technology stack offers agile and easily replicable deployment across markets, boosting our ability to roll out efficient digital banks with great customer experience in other markets. Digital Banking is one of our high-conviction themes, as we strongly believe finance should be a seamless experience embedded in our customers’ lifestyles. This will continue to be a focus area for SC Ventures.


About Thought Machine

Thought Machine was founded in 2014 with a mission to enable banks to deploy modern systems and move away from the legacy IT platforms that plague the banking industry. We do this through our cloud native core banking platform, Vault. This next generation system has been written from scratch as an entirely cloud native platform. It does not contain a single line of code which is legacy, or pre-cloud. Our customers include Lloyds Banking Group, JPMorgan Chase, SEB, Standard Chartered, Atom bank, and Curve, among others. We are currently a team of more than 500 people spread across offices in London, New York, Singapore, Sydney, and Melbourne, and have raised more than $340m in funding at a $1bn+ valuation.

For more information visit thoughtmachine.net

FinTech Voice December 2 – Sponsored by Envestnet | Yodlee

This year’s Annual General Meeting took place on November 30, 2021 and with it, we welcome the Board of Directors that have been elected. We welcome newest director, Dominic Pym, Co-founder of Up, and returning directors Simone Joyce, Managing Director, Paypa Plane; Oliver Kidd, Founder & CEO, Archa; Paul Kang, Co-founder/Director, Entersoft Security; Harry Godber, Head of Strategy, Flare; Marie Mortimer, Managing Director, Loans.com.au; Nathan Walsh, Co-founder & CEO, Athena Home Loans, Robin Sands, CEO, Link4 Cloud; Brian Collins, Fintech and Food Managing Director, Startupbootcamp, Cathryn Lyall, Co-founder, Seed Money Australia & Seismic Foundry; and Michael Saadat, Public Policy & Regulatory Affairs, Afterpay.

On policy, we have a few ongoing consultations as we approach the end of the year. We continue to be involved in several consultations and their submissions this week, including the Attorney-General’s follow-up review of the Privacy Act, Modernising business communications consultation and AFCA Consultation Report

We are excited for our upcoming webinar in association with Austrade on Making the jump: Australian Fintechs Taking on the US on 3 December – 9 AM (AEDT). Learn more about the US market regulations, trends and opportunities as it relates to fintech exporters. Register for the event here.

If you have queries or require any additional information, the team is always available.

Finally, we welcome our newest member this fortnight – MATTERPAY LENDING PTY LTD.

Regards,

Rehan D’Almeida
Head of Partnerships and Marketing
FinTech Australia

Financial data aggregation leader, Envestnet | Yodlee has been granted active status as an Accredited Data Recipient and Intermediary under Australia’s Consumer Data Right (CDR). This means that the organisation is fully equipped and authorised to provide you with access to CDR financial data through open banking connections. They also provide access to non-CDR consumer-permissioned data through responsible data aggregation. With their innovative technology and global experience, they can help you navigate Australia’s hybrid and evolving open banking environment to comply with CDR requirements and your customers’ expectations. Contact them to learn more.

Privacy Act Consultation

We are currently seeking member feedback for this review

Modernizing Business Communications Consultation – Technology Neutrality

Our draft letter to the Federal Government in relation to this consultation is underway

We are seeking member feedback for this review

AFCA Consultation Report

The Treasury released their report into the Review of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA) which FinTech Australia made a submission in response to in March 2021

The report makes 14 recommendations. Overall it found that AFCA is performing well in a difficult operating environment and a changing regulatory landscape

🔏 BDO and AusCERT presents the Cyber Security Survey that identifies the current cyber security trends, issues and threats facing organisations across Australia and New Zealand. The 10-minute survey will provide you an opportunity to sense check your organisation’s approach to cyber risk – Closes at midnight on 3 December 2021

📖 Join the Fintech in Vietnam Program delivered by Asialink Business in association with Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources (DISER) and Austrade – a comprehensive online training series for Australian business leaders in the Fintech sector who are exploring opportunities to plug-into Vietnam’s fintech market. Learn more about the program and apply today! Use code FINTECHAUS100 for free registration!

🇺🇸 FinTech Australia and Austrade webinar will highlight the US market regulations, trends and opportunities as it relates to fintech exporters. Register today for Making the jump: Australian Fintechs Taking on the US – 3 Dec

💹 Join the webinar on Investment Opportunities in Vietnam organised by Consulate General of Vietnam in Sydney – aims at NSW and Australian exporters who are keen to explore investment opportunities in Vietnam. Visit here to know more and register for the event on 2 Dec 2021

🇫🇷 Join the Paris Fintech Forum communities delivered by Alteir – Winter Digital Hybrid Edition on 2 Dec and 3 Dec. Get a chance to be a part of both in-person and virtual panels, interviews and speed meetings, all in one. Click here to know more and get your tickets today.

Don’t miss all the news and insights from our members and corporate partners from our newsroom.

  • Frollo and Beyond Bank recently partnered to deliver Open Banking customer experience
  • Digital lender, Nano Digital Home Loans, an Australian fintech lender offering the country’s first end-to-end digital mortgage service aims to reshaping the Australian mortgage market.
  • Swyftx announced two major motorsports sponsorships at Bathurst amid growing interest in crypto among race fans and drivers
  • The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) recently announced that Payble was granted formal Consumer Data Right (CDR) accreditation
  • Airwallex raised additional US$100 million in Series E1 led by Lone Pine Capital
  • Open announced as Australia’s 7th fastest growing company in AFR Fast 100
  • Australian based global fintech, Change Financial (Change), which provides tailored payment solutions, card issuing and testing to banks and fintechs today announced the official launch in Australia of its payment’s brands
  • Cirralto signs binding agreement to deliver funding services to Australia largest wholesale beverage trading platform, eBev
  • MyBond launched its unique and groundbreaking service to alleviate this problem and to assist all Queensland renters
  • Cape joins forces with FrankieOne to enhance the customer onboarding experience
  • Sandstone Technology talks about Mobile banking security: 5 serious challenges, and the 7 ways to address them along with De-risking lending
  • The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), supported by Temenos collaborated for a detailed report on the state of cloud-based banking and its future
  • Nodifi recently launched personal loans on origination platform, signaling broker feedback and consumer demand as the main drivers
  • Shift, a provider of credit and payment platforms to Australian businesses, has set the bar for paid parental leave in the Australian finance industry
  • AFG and Frollo join forces to improve mortgage lending with Open Banking data
  • Visa recently invested in Basiq, the API platform powering some of Australia’s most innovative banks and fintechs with financial data
  • Till Payments upsizes recent funding round with top up from Afterpay-backed Touch Ventures and strategic European investors
  • Binance Australia and WeMoney recently launched an initiative to boost Australian crypto education to enhance the financial wellbeing and investment literacy of Australians
  • Connecting Up and Link4 joined forces to enable not-for-profits to reap the benefits of eInvoicing
  • TrueLayer announces the appointment today of Jodi Ross to the position of Regulatory Lead in Australia.
  • Link4 has landed more government contracts following an increase in eInvoicing adoption among Government Agencies in recent months

Square, Inc. Changes Name to Block

The change differentiates the Square brand, which was built for the Seller Business, from the corporate entity

Square, Inc. (NYSE: SQ) announced today that it is changing its name to Block. Block will be the name for the company as a corporate entity. The Square name has become synonymous with the company’s Seller business, which provides an integrated ecosystem of commerce solutions, business software, and banking services for sellers, and this move allows the Seller business to own the Square brand it was built for.

The change to Block acknowledges the company’s growth. Since its start in 2009, the company has added Cash App, TIDAL, and TBD54566975 as businesses, and the name change creates room for further growth. Block is an overarching ecosystem of many businesses united by their purpose of economic empowerment, and serves many people—individuals, artists, fans, developers, and sellers.

“We built the Square brand for our Seller business, which is where it belongs,” said Jack Dorsey, cofounder and CEO of Block. “Block is a new name, but our purpose of economic empowerment remains the same. No matter how we grow or change, we will continue to build tools to help increase access to the economy.”

The name change to Block distinguishes the corporate entity from its businesses, or building blocks. There will be no organizational changes, and Square, Cash App, TIDAL, and TBD54566975 will continue to maintain their respective brands. A foundational workforce, which includes teams such as Counsel, People, and Finance, will continue to help guide the ecosystem at the corporate level. As a result of the name change, Square Crypto, a separate initiative of the company dedicated to advancing Bitcoin, will change its name to Spiral.

The name has many associated meanings for the company — building blocks, neighborhood blocks and their local businesses, communities coming together at block parties full of music, a blockchain, a section of code, and obstacles to overcome.

Square, Inc. is referred to as “Block” in this press release. The legal name “Square, Inc.” is expected to be legally changed to “Block, Inc.” on or about December 10, 2021, upon satisfying all applicable legal requirements. The company’s NYSE ticker symbol “SQ” will not change at this time. Any changes in the future will be publicly disclosed. No action is needed from current stockholders. The Company’s Class A common stock will continue to be listed on NYSE and the CUSIP will not be changing.


For more information, please visit www.block.xyz or follow company news via Twitter @blocks and @blockIR. For media assets, go to www.block.xyz/mediakit.

We intend to use the Block investor relations website as well as the Twitter accounts @blocks and @blockIR as means of disclosing material non-public information and for complying with our disclosure obligations under Regulation FD.


About Block

Block (NYSE: SQ) is a global technology company with a focus on financial services. Made up of Square, Cash App, Spiral, TIDAL, and TBD54566975, we build tools to help more people access the economy. Square helps sellers run and grow their businesses with its integrated ecosystem of commerce solutions, business software, and banking services. With Cash App, anyone can easily send, spend, or invest their money in stocks or Bitcoin. Spiral (formerly Square Crypto) builds and funds free, open-source Bitcoin projects. Artists use TIDAL to help them succeed as entrepreneurs and connect more deeply with fans. TBD54566975 is building an open developer platform to make it easier to access Bitcoin and other blockchain technologies without having to go through an institution.


Contacts

Media Contact: press@block.xyz
Investor Relations Contact: ir@block.xyz

Openmarkets goes live on GBST’s Australian Retail Clearing Platform

One of Australia’s largest and fastest growing retail brokers, Openmarkets, has gone live on GBST’s Retail Clearing Platform, which has been deployed via a Software as a Service (SaaS) model on the Amazon Web Services (AWS*) cloud. The platform, designed for Australian market participants, provides scalable, feature-rich, robust equities and options processing.

Openmarkets will utilise the platform for its equities and Exchange-Traded Option (ETO) clearing and settlement capabilities, intermediary management, risk management, and real-time interfaces into margin lenders and cash management providers.

Denis Orrock, Head of Capital Markets at GBST, said, “We are delighted to include Openmarkets in our growing client base of leading financial institutions. I am proud of our delivery team, who completed this implementation remotely due to Covid-19 in under 12 months. Our industry experts enjoyed bringing their best practice operational capabilities to the Openmarkets project.”

Ivan Tchourilov, CEO at OMG (Openmarkets Group), said, “We selected GBST’s Retail Clearing Platform due to its breadth of system capabilities, plus the fact that it is the choice of many ASX participants gave us greater confidence. It gives us a great foundation to grow faster with the forthcoming CHESS replacement being handled by GBST. The economies of scale it provides make it much more economic than running our own back-office technology. The platform will provide us with automation across the complete post-trade lifecycle for equities and options, client onboarding automation, and firm-wide risk management, that will allow us to focus on delivering leading-edge technology, and an expanded product offering that will benefit the more than 225,000 investors using our systems, holding in excess of $11 billion in assets.”

GBST’s retail broker and clearing clients currently manage over AUD$200 billion in sponsored HIN, cash holdings, and margin loans across GBST platforms. To ensure these firms have continuous connectivity, GBST is funding a multi-million-dollar investment across its Australian post-trade products to facilitate the ASX’s CHESS replacement program, which is due to go live in April 2023. More than 60 percent of all cleared market trades currently travel through GBST’s systems, which processed in excess of $2.2 trillion in trade value during FY21.


Additional information 

*GBST has collaborated with AWS for several years and recently joined the AWS Partner Network  (APN) within the Independent Software Vendors (ISV) pathway. This growing partnership has  empowered GBST to further develop deep expertise while working together across capital  markets solutions to offer a flexible, pay-as-you-go Software as a Service (SaaS) that provides a  faster implementation of continuing developments. 


About GBST 

GBST is a specialist financial technology company which provides administration and transaction  processing software for retail wealth management organisations and global and regional  investment banks. Founded in 1983, the company operates in Australia, Asia, Europe, and North  America. 

www.gbst.com 


Contact
Andrew Byrne – Marketing
+61 2 9005 0922
andrew.byrne@gbst.com

Open announced as Australia’s 7th fastest growing company in AFR Fast 100

Award-winning InsurTech, Open, has been announced as Australia’s 7th fastest growing company in the prestigious AFR Fast 100 List for 2021.

To be eligible for entry into the Fast 100, a business must have started trading on or before 1 July 2016, and have had turnover greater than $500,000 in 2016-17. Entrants must provide three full years of revenue data, and are ranked according to the compound annual growth rate achieved over that period.

Open achieved a CAGR of 170% over FY19 to FY21, and is the only InsurTech company recognised in the AFR Fast 100 this year.

“We started Open in 2016 to change how consumers purchase and experience insurance – providing them with simpler and more powerful options,” says Jonathan Buck, Co-founder and Joint Chief Executive at Open. “More than 85,000 customers have purchased car, home or travel insurance with Open, and have experienced the difference.”

Open’s consumer brand, Huddle, offers innovative and flexible products including Pay As You Drive car insurance, and can be bought directly from huddle.com.au, or via Open’s partners, such as Telstra Plus, Plenti and WeMoney.

Additionally, Open provides white-labelled insurance, partnering with leading brands such as Medibank/ahm and On by EnergyAustralia. Open’s partners are able to simply embed insurance into their app or website via APIs, providing a market-leading insurance experience for their customers, and generating new revenue streams in the process.

“Embedded insurance allows brands to offer insurance policies when and where it makes sense to customers. What makes Open’s offering unique is our ability to digitally manage the entire insurance experience from quote to claim,” says Jason Wilby, Co-founder and Joint Chief Executive at Open. “It means our partners can offer an insurance product knowing that their customers are taken care of, saving them money, time and stress.”

Featuring in the AFR Fast 100 is one of many recognitions Open has achieved this year. In October, Open won Excellence in InsurTech at the FinTech Australia Finnie Awards. Following this, Open ranked in FinTech Global’s InsurTech 100. Huddle was also named one of Australia’s best car insurance policies of 2021 by Mozo.

“We’re on a mission to provide the fastest insurance, at the best price, for the world. Being named one of Australia’s fastest-growing companies is great validation that we’re building insurance products and services both consumers and brands want to see,” says Wilby.

Earlier this year, Open raised AUD$31 million in a Series B  round to fund their expansion to New Zealand and the UK, bringing their total capital raised to AUD$53 million. In the past 6 months alone, the company has more than doubled their team, welcoming 43 new people in their Sunshine Coast, Sydney, Auckland, Queenstown and London hubs.


About Open

Open is on a mission to offer the fastest insurance, at the best price, for the world. Businesses of all sizes embed Open’s car and home insurance into their digital experiences.

Our flagship products are available under the Huddle brand, and also as a bespoke white-label solution. We work with many large brands and leading tech companies such as Telstra Plus, Plenti, ahm, and On by EnergyAustralia.

Open operates across Australia and New Zealand today and soon will expand to the UK and Europe. We are proud to count Airtree Ventures (AU), Movac (NZ), Latitude (UK), Hollard Insurance (AU), Seven West Media (AU) and Five V (AU) amongst our investors. Open products are underwritten by Hollard Insurance in Australia and Tower in New Zealand.


We believe in using business as a force for good and are a certified B Corporation.

For more information visit beopen.com or contact media@beopen.com

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