Australian Government bids to build a fintech nation

Australian Government bids to build a fintech nation

Robo-advisors, bitcoin and blockchain, P2P lending and crowdsourcing are all too receive a boost in Australia as the Government unveils a comprehensive package of plans designed to stimulate the new fintech economy.

Introducing the programme at the Stone & Chalk fintech accelerator in Sydney, treasury minister Scott Morrison, said: "Fintech is going to revolutionise how consumers and businesses, as the drivers of economic activity, interact. This is going to have big implications for demand in the future. We need to be part of these changes and we have got to work out the best way to engage with fintech and prepare for the financial system and economy of the future."

Chief among the measures include plans to abolish double taxation of bitcoin, ease restrictions on crowdfunding and reduce tax barriers for venture capital investment in fintech firms. The Government is also considering the introduction of an 'entrepreneur's visa', and open access to comprehensive credit reporting data from the banking industry for marketplace lenders.

On the regulatory front, the Government says it is working to ensure all areas of existing financial regulation are "technology neutral" in an effort to ease the regulatory barriers to new non-bank competitors.

And in another move timed to coincide with the release of the paper, Asic has opened consultation on regulation of digital financial product advice.

Asic Commissioner John Price says: 'Asic is keen to see a healthy and vibrant digital advice sector. We see digital advice as having the potential to offer Australian consumers access to good quality, low-cost, financial advice. Asic is committed to helping industry take advantage of the opportunities offered by robo-advice while ensuring that investor and financial consumer trust and confidence is not compromised. We encourage industry and other stakeholders to take part in this consultation process."

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