FinTech Australia is the leading industry voice for Australias fintech industry.
We work closely with government and industry to develop new approaches which help accelerate innovation in financial services and drive consumer and business demand for fintech, while still ensuring a secure and stable financial system.
Since our inception in early 2016, FinTech Australia has produced over 25 submissions on behalf of its 300+ members. A selection of these is below.
Second Financial Technology and Regulatory Technology Issues Paper
In late 2020, the Senate Select Committee on Fintech and Regtech released a second issues paper which covered a broad range of areas, including R&D and Corporate taxes, CDR, data and block regulation issues, Rules as Code, Access to Capital, Funding, Regulatory Culture, Skills and Talent Acquisition, Trade and International Policy, and the framework for the ongoing consideration of fintech and regtech issues.
Across months of consultation with over 500 of our member representatives, we have compiled the position of the fintech industry in a a comprehensive document to the Committee.
CDR Intermediaries Consultation
This submission was made to the ACCC in response to their consultation on the Draft CDR Rules concerning Intermediaries. This submission covers the participation of third party service providers, the accreditation of principals and providers, key definitions (including key use cases), liability, transparency and consent, recording keeping and information security.
Future Directions for the Consumer Data Right
In early 2020, the Treasurer announced that Scott Farrell would be leading an inquiry into the future directions of the Consumer Data Right. The Issues Paper called for industry submissions regarding the future roles and outcomes for the Consumer Data Right, not limited to the currently identified industry applications and the international context of the regime. It also examined switching between products, read and write access, linkages and interoperability with existing frameworks and infrastructure, leveraging existing CDR infrastructure and consumer protection.
What We Do Best
We’ve listed here some of the major policy and advocacy wins for the fintech industry and work undertaken by FinTech Australia
Promoting access to affordable advice for consumers
The consultation is part of a broader piece of work by ASIC to understand how to improve access to personal advice for consumers. This comes at a time when the industry has experienced an increasing surge of interest from financial institutions, superannuation funds and financial advice businesses for digital advice solutions. They see these solutions as a means of addressing the unmet financial advice needs of low balance clients who cannot afford to retain a traditional financial adviser.
Despite the high degree of interest and need, many fintechs have reported difficulty with finalising partnering or outsourcing arrangements with these businesses. The key contributing factors relate to the risk exposure and regulatory uncertainty arising from the conflict of interest inherent in broad advice offerings.
Our submission discusses these key factors that are adversely impacting the pace at which fintechs are able to scale B2B digital advice offerings.
Review of the Privacy Act 1988
The Australian Government has undertaken a review of the Privacy Act 1988 to ensure privacy settings empower consumers, protect their data and best serve the Australian economy. This review is a part of the Government’s response to the ACCC’s Digital Platforms Inquiry. Our submission discusses, among other things, the importance of tokenisation and digitisation of personal information under the Privacy Act, and the various exemptions within the Act.
Consultation on proposed changes to the CDR Rules
The ACCC is sought views on changes to the Competition and Consumer (Consumer Data Right) Rules 2020 (Rules). These changes are intended to expand the Rules and allow for the entry of a greater number and type of businesses in Consumer Data Right. They have published a consultation paper outlining their key proposals including:
- changes to the accreditation process to include new restricted tiers of accreditation
- rules to allow consumers to consent to the disclosure of Consumer Data Right data to third parties
- increased functionality to improve consumer experience.
TrustID Framework Consultation
AusPayNet’s consultation sought to facilitate the development of a governance structure for the TrustID Framework which promotes confidence amongst users to access digital identity solutions, sustains the growth of digital identity solutions, and minimises risks in connection with such solutions and the TrustID Framework.
ACCC Home Loan Price Inquiry
FinTech Australia has tendered a submission to the ACCC in respect of its Home Loan Price Inquiry update. The submission addresses the ACCC’s two recommendations that:
- An annual nudge be given to variable rate borrowers; and
- improvement be made to the discharge process when refinancing with a new lender.
Enhanced Regulatory Sandbox
ASIC has conducted an informal consultation in respect of the Enhanced Regulatory Sandbox’s new tests; the the net public test and innovation test. The submission addresses concerns that members have with these questions, as well as raising additional points in respect of ASIC’s approach to Assessment of Notifications, the importance of the Enhanced Regulatory Sandbox and some further issues for ASIC to consider.
Fintech Senate Committee Covid-19 Post-Recovery
This supplementary submission was made to the Select Committee on Financial Technology and Regulatory Technology in respect of Covid-19 post recovery. Broadly, this response submitted short, medium, long term and post recovery measures, as well as those that have been enacted overseas, to support the fintech ecosystem during the pandemic’s economic downturn.
During this time, we also successfully lobbied the Federal Government in expanding Job Keeper to include pre revenue and high growth companies.
Fintech and Regtech Senate Select Committee
In late 2019, Federal Government launched a Select Committee on fintech and regtech, led by the honourable Senator Andrew Bragg. Its primary focus is to examine the rollout of open banking and real-time payments in Australia.
The committee has expressed its interest to hear about other regulatory issues affecting the growth of the fintech industry and requested for a list of policy issues impacting our members.
The comprehensive submission highlighted the legislative, policy and cultural changes that will benefit both consumers and the industry. FinTech Australia continues to engage with all the committee members to ensure there is bipartisan support on the issues.
ASIC ePayments Review
On 24 March 2020, ASIC published further progress on their ePayments Review. FinTech Australia has made the following submission to ASIC’s in respect of this review which broadly focussed on:
- small business protections;
- addressing scams;
- unauthorised transactions and the pass code security requirements framework; and
- compliance monitoring and data collection.
ARNECC Model Participation Rules
A submission made in response to the Australian Registrars National Electronic Conveyancing Council’s (ARNECC) Consultation Draft of Version 6 of the Model Participation Rules.
Broadly, it was submitted that the:
- option for taking ‘reasonable steps’ in lieu of applying the VOI Standard should remain;
- proposed new requirement that Identity Agents be appointed in writing should either be removed or elaborated to make it clear that the appointment in writing may be undertaken by electronic means; and
- proposed Version 6 of the Model Participation Rules reinforces the requirement for ‘face-to-face in person’ identity verification. We respectfully suggest that, rather than reinforcing the requirement for an actual physical face-to-face in person interview between a verifier or an Identity Agent and the person being verified, ARNECC should consider formulating the interview requirements in section 2 of the VOI Standard in a technologically neutral way.
R&D Tax Incentives
This submission was made to the Australia Treasury in respect of Research and Development Tax Incentives. The submission broadly recommended that in making changes to the R&D Tax Incentive the committee should take note of the EU R&D Report, and its principles, including that R&D tax incentives should be volume-based, rather than incremental, adjust the strictness of the incentive’s novelty requirement appropriate to the relevant market and encourage growth in companies, particularly younger companies, through the implementation of carry-over facilities, cash refunds and collaboration premiums. Additionally, any changes made should not operate retrospectively.
Review into Retail Payments
This submission was made to the Reserve Bank of Australia in respect of their Review into Retail Payments, which considered, among other things, the areas of regulation, governance and operating arrangements, innovation and competition, effectiveness of existing schemes and frameworks, and the implications of new technologies on the retail payments space.
Participation of third party service providers in the Consumer Data Right
This submission was made to the ACCC in respect of their December 2019 consultation on facilitating participation of intermediaries in the CDR regime. Broadly, this response discussed intermediaries and the disclosure of CDR data to non-accredited third parties.
Consumer Data Right Privacy Safeguards Draft Guidelines
This submission was made to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner in respect of the Consumer Data Right Privacy Safeguards, in regards to, among other things, the:
- protection of CDR Consumers who are not natural persons;
- requirement to presume that a person is reasonably identifiable if it is unclear whether a person is in fact “reasonably identifiable”;
- consents from CDR Consumers who are not natural persons;
- present coverage of the CDR Regime;
- boxed comment under paragraph 2.13 (Privacy Safeguard 2);
- written note of a use or disclosure (Privacy Safeguard 6); and
- liability of accredited data recipients under section 56EK(2) of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.
Boosting Female Founders Initiative
This submission was made to the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science to inform the design of the Boosting Female Founders Initiative – an $18 million grant program, with $6 million of grants available each year over three years from 1 July 2020. The Initiative is intended to contribute to removing barriers for economic participation by women in the workforce by providing access to finance for female led start-ups.
Consumer Data Right Privacy Impact Statement
This submission was made to the Australia Treasury in respect of the Privacy Impact Assessment in relation to the Consumer Data Right. Broadly, this response submitted that:
- the Rules should be amended to, among other things, require an Accredited Data Recipient to warn a consumer when providing them with data;
- the Department consider whether consumers should have a right to access data held about them by a Data Recipient; and
- the Data Standard be recast to more clearly distinguish those aspects of the Data Standards which are binding legal requirements.
This submission also discusses risks associated with information flows, and the roles of intermediaries and aggregators in the regime.
Currency (restrictions on the use of cash) Bill 2019
A submission to the Australian Treasury in respect of the Currency (Restrictions on the Use of Cash) Bill 2019, which proposed that:
- digital Currency should not be included in the draft Bill;
- cheque Payments should not be mentioned in the summary of the Bill;
- ambiguity in language should be reviewed;
- all entities providing designated services under item 3,4, and 5 of Table 1 section 6, of the AML/CTF Act should be exempted from the Draft Bill; and
- additional questions and matters for consideration.
Open Banking Designation Instrument
A submission to the Australian Treasury in respect of the Open Banking designation instrument. This submission specifically considers Derived Data, Access Fees, and Reciprocity.
Consumer Data Right Technical Standards
A submission to Data61 in respect of their Technical Standards for the Consumer Data Right. This submission considered the Technical Standard’s consent APIs, authentication flow and the included data points in the API standards.
The creation of a world-first regulatory sandbox by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) which allows allow eligible fintech businesses to test new products, without holding a financial services or credit licence. See the ASIC website for further background.
Open financial data
After launching a Productivity Commission inquiry on Data Availability and Use in Australia, the government announced a commitment to create an Open Banking data regime in 2018, to create additional choice and opportunities for consumers and new business opportunities for fintech firms.
This transformational reform initiative was largely driven by the advocacy efforts of FinTech Australia and its members. Visit the Productivity Commission’s Website for more information about the inquiry, and the 2017 Federal Budget page to see the Government’s announcement on Open Banking.
GST treatment of digital currencies
Changes to GST laws so that the purchase of digital currencies are no longer subject to GST from 1 July, 2017. Defining digital currencies and how they should be treated under Australia’s tax, AML and CTF regimes supports the growth of digital currency use in Australia.
Venture capital investment
Changes to make venture capital investment more attractive, which has helped drive more funds towards the growth of early-stage startup companies. See the ATO’s website for more details.
Digital financial advice guidance
The publication of advice from ASIC which supports the ongoing expansion of Australias digital advice industry. Visit ASIC’s website for more information.
International public relations campaign
Receiving a funding grant from Federal Treasury to run an international public relations campaign to promote the Australian fintech industry to the world.
Equity Crowdfunding Private Company regime
After introducing Equity Crowdfunding (ECF) for Public companies, new legislation has been announced to expand Australia’s ECF regime to include Private companies. FinTech Australia and its members undertook a national roadshow collecting feedback from key stakeholders and startup communities to incorporate in our submission on the new ECF regime.
EY FinTech Australia Census
Get your copy of the latest EY FinTech Australia Census.
The EY FinTech Australia Census 2019 is a detailed, industry backed analysis of the Australian fintech ecosystem. This report presents the key findings that act as a powerful platform for FinTech Australia when engaging with members, stakeholders, commercial partners, regulators and government departments.
The Census gives us hard data and credible insights to back our advocacy work to drive the industrys ongoing expansion. This years Census delivers new insights into key industry issues, including how we increase female participation, encourage international expansion and remove barriers to growth.