UK and Australian watchdogs forge fintech referral pact

UK and Australian watchdogs forge fintech referral pact

The UK's Financial Conduct Authority has signed a reciprocal agreement with Australian counterpart Asic to offer support for fintech startups seeking to enter each territory.

The agreement - first trailed by FCA director of strategy and competition, Christopher Woolard in February - follows the creation of Innovation Hubs at the FCA and Asic in October 2014 and April 2015, respectively.

The Hubs were set up to help businesses with innovative ideas navigate financial regulation, support them through the authorisation process and engage with the regulator.

To date the FCA’s Innovation Hub has helped over 200 businesses and approved the authorisation of 18 companies. Likewise, Asic has dealt with over 75 innovative start-ups including the granting of 10 licenses.

Woolard says the pact between the two will likely be the first of many with other national regulatory bodies the world over.

"Innovation in financial services isn’t limited by national borders and so it’s important that we support overseas businesses that have new ideas that could benefit British consumers," he says. "We also know that many British firms wish to use the UK as a springboard to launch their businesses or products internationally, making them potentially more sustainable challengers. With Asic, we will reduce the barriers for authorised firms looking to grow to scale overseas and to assist non-UK innovators interested in entering the market we oversee."

To qualify for the support offered by the agreement, new businesses will need to meet the eligibility criteria of their home regulator’s Innovation Hub. Once referred by the regulator, and ahead of applying for authorisation to operate in the new market, the business will have access to a dedicated team or contact person who will help them to understand the regulatory framework in the market they wish to join, and how it applies to them.

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