Banking licences, open data and digital currency on policy agenda

New digital banking licences, open banking reforms and proposed legislative oversight of digital currency transactions are among the fintech initiatives covered by Australian Government announcements over the past month.

On 17 August, the Australian Justice Minister has issued draft legislation to ensure digital currency traders are subject to Australia’s anti-money laundering and anti-terrorism financing laws. We have released a statement on the issue indicating support for the move, which ensures legitimate operators can continue to build customer trust for long-term industry growth.

On 15 August, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority released a discussion paper suggesting a new gradual banking licence pathway. This follows several consultations with our members after our campaign to reduce banking barriers to entry. Comments on the discussion paper are open until 30 November 2017.

On 10 August, the Australian Government released an issues paper on the open banking initiative. We published a media release on this, stating that the paper provides further clarity about key issues that need resolution in order for the fintech industry to proceed with this important and long-awaited reform.

The paper raises the possibility of a phased introduction of an open banking regime, along with the possibility of banking industry-specific data legislation.