Blockchain, the public decentralised ledger technology behind Bitcoin, is gaining attention from a much wider audience within the financial services industry in terms of the potential application to securities clearing and settlements, payment processing and loan transactions.
The Joint Committee of the European Supervisory Authorities (JCESA) is considering what regulations, if any, will be required for robo-advice throughout the European Union (EU). JCESA has released a discussion paper on automation in financial advice to assist it evaluate how robo-advice is currently being used in the EU and its potential growth in banking, securities and insurance. The discussion paper highlights what the JCESA identify as the main potential benefits and risks to both consumers and financial institutions which offer some form of robo-advice.
After increasing concerns that robo-advisers may not fit neatly into existing regulations, Australian, United States and United Kingdom regulators have all indicated in the last few months that they will be looking at the appropriateness of current regulations for the increasingly fast growing industry of automated financial advice.
The past few months have seen considerable movement on the regulation of crowd-sourced equity funding on both sides of the Pacific. In the U.S., the SEC has adopted rules which allow companies to crowdfund through a registered portal while in Australia, the Australian Government has introduced a bill into Parliament which significantly enhances the viability and attractiveness of crowdfunding.
Like riding a bike through Sydney or getting to Melbourne airport, launching a peer to peer lending platform in Australia is possible but not as easy as it should be. The Financial System Inquiry recommended changes and the Government’s response seemed to agree, but we are yet to see what will be done to facilitate innovation in marketplace lending.
For fintech startups looking to operate in Australia, the hurdle of obtaining an AFSL is often daunting. An AFSL application can be expensive and time consuming but it’s rarely necessary to obtain an AFSL from day one. Whether it’s through an exemption, relief or authorisation, there’s usually another way.