The Australian Government has released its responses to the industry’s priorities for fintech development which it has called “Backing Australian FinTech”. As well as affirming existing commitments, such as introducing a crowd sourced equity funding (CSEF) framework and an incubator support programme, the paper includes a number of initiatives that the Government proposes to undertake. New developments include:
- introduction of an entrepreneur visa in November 2016 for foreign entrepreneurs with innovative ideas and financial backing from a third party;
- possibly increasing the asset and turnover eligibility threshold for CSEF to A$25 million and reducing cooling off periods for investors to 48 hours;
- consultation on a potential framework for crowd sourced debt funding;
- increasing the maximum fund size of Early Stage Venture Capital Limited Partnerships (ESVCLPs) to A$200 million and providing a 10% tax offset on capital invested;
- introduction of a mechanism to allow Innovation Australia to issue binding advice in relation to the definition of ineligible activities for ESVCLPs;
- Productivity Commission inquiry into options for improving access to comprehensive credit reporting (CCR) data;
- a regulatory guide for robo-advice providers;
- possibly allowing licensed insurance brokers to sell insurance policies from unauthorised foreign insurers where they offer consumers a better price and appropriate consumer protection;
- possibly applying anti-money laundering laws to digital currencies;
- a commitment to address the ‘double taxation’ of using digital currency to purchase goods already subject to the Goods and Services Tax (GST);
- establishment of a new Cyber Security Growth Centre; and
- a ‘regulatory sandbox’ in Australia to allow FinTech start-ups to test their products and business models.
Backing Australian FinTech indicates that 2016 will be a busy year for fintech regulation in Australia.
Read Backing Australian FinTech here.