Singapore and Australia regulators agree fintech deal

The Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission today signed an agreement which aims to help innovative financial businesses in Singapore and Australia bring their products to the marketplace.

The Innovation Functions Co-operation Agreement aims to support fintech companies in Singapore and Australia to establish initial discussions in each other’s market faster and receive advice on required licences, thus speeding up the regulatory and bureaucratic process.

Sopnendu Mohanty, chief fintech officer at the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), said that the agreement would help create opportunities for fintech businesses from Singapore and Australia to “grow and expand into each other’s markets”.

“Singapore has a vibrant fintech ecosystem, reinforced by sound infrastructure and a growing talent pool, to support companies intending to use Singapore as a gateway to other markets in Asia.

“MAS is also looking forward to partner ASIC in joint innovation projects on the application of key technologies such as digital and mobile payments, blockchain and distributed ledgers, big data, and Application Programming Interfaces (API),” she said.

Greg Medcraft, chairman, Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), said that innovation in financial services isn’t confined by national borders and that ASIC is committed to “encouraging innovation” that has the potential to benefit financial consumers and investors.

Surge in requests by fintech start-ups

Medcraft said that since ASIC launched its Innovation Hub last year, it has seen a surge in requests by fintech start-ups seeking assistance about how to navigate the regulatory requirements. Among the main areas that ASIC has supported includes requests regarding robo or digital advice, crowd sourced equity funding, payments, marketplace lending and blockchain business models.

“It is very exciting to observe and clearly some business ideas will want to scale up internationally,” said Medcraft. “We believe this agreement with the MAS will help break down barriers to entry both here and in Singapore.”

Eligibility criteria

To qualify for the support offered by the agreement, businesses will need to meet the eligibility criteria of their home regulator. Once referred, and ahead of applying for licence to operate in the new market, a dedicated team or contact person from the appropriate regulator will help them to understand the regulatory framework in the market they wish to join, and how it applies to them.

ASIC and MAS have also committed to exploring joint innovation projects together, and to share information on emerging market trends and their impact on regulation.

Gary Robinson
Head of Video and Ezines at Open Door Media Publishing. Deputy Editor, International Investment. An experienced journalist and filmmaker with more than 20 years' financial services experience, both as journalist and originally as a fully qualified IFA, Gary works across both International Investment and InvestmentEurope titles. Previous video production credits include projects on BBC, C4 and SKY.

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