Australia unveils ‘relaxed’ fintech regs to create ‘sandbox’

The Australian government has published  draft legislation it says is aimed at creating “an enhanced regulatory sandbox” for fintech companies that, among other things, will permit a “broad scope of activities to be tested without the need to meet all the existing licensing requirements of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission”.

The government is seeking comments from the industry on the draft legislation and explanatory memorandum, which it says is open until3 November.

A further consultation, on the draft regulations and their explanatory statement, is to run until 1 December.

In a statement posted on his website, Australian treasury minister Scott Morrison said that the proposed enhanced regulatory sandbox would “help firms overcome the initial regulatory burden and costs of licensing that may otherwise hinder innovative offerings”, and help Australia to claim its place “as a leading fintech hub in Asia Pacific”.

Under this new legislative framework, which he noted had been mentioned in his 2017-18 budget, Morrison said Australian companies would be able to trial a wide range of new and innovative fintech products and services, including:

• providing holistic financial advice in relation to superannuation, life insurance and domestic and international securities;

• issuing and facilitating consumer credit;

• issuing non-cash payment products; and

• providing a crowd-funding service.

The legislation provides for a 24-month testing time-frame, Morrison said, which he suggested would be enough time to enable those companies that make use of it to evaluate the commercial viability of new concepts,  while also promoting “greater competition and delivering more choice for Australian consumers”.

To view Morrison’s statement, click here. 

To view and download the Enhanced Regulatory Sandbox regulations and legislation, click here. 

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