ASIC enters a new international fintech agreement

Elizabeth Barry 14 June 2017 NEWS

fintech agreement

The regulator has added Hong Kong to its quickly growing list of fintech Cooperation Agreements.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has announced a new fintech Cooperation Agreement with Hong Kong, making it the latest addition to a long list of the regulator's official fintech relationships.

The agreement, which will "provide a framework for cooperation to support and understand financial innovation in each economy", is with the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC).

ASIC's corporate plan, announced in September 2016, had a core focus on the risks of digital disruption and the fintech opportunity. It appears the regulator had prioritised international agreements in order to mitigate these risks.

The regulator first entered into an agreement with the United Kingdom's Financial Conduct Authority in March 2016; followed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore in June; the Capital Markets Authority of Kenya in October; the Ontario Securities Commission in November; and most recently Indonesia's Otoritas Jasa Keuangan in April of this year.

When signing the agreement with Hong Kong's SFC, ASIC commissioner Cathie Armour said: "Financial services are a major contributor to Hong Kong's US$316 billion economy. The Cooperation Agreement is a significant boost for Australia's burgeoning fintech sector and will ease entry into this important market for innovative Australian businesses."

The agreement means that ASIC and the SFC will refer innovative fintech businesses to each for advice and support through ASIC's Innovation Hub and the SFC's Fintech Contact Point. This will make it easier for fintechs in both countries to understand regulatory regimes in each of their jurisdictions.

Information sharing is also a core part of the agreement. ASIC will be able to keep across economic and regulatory developments in Hong Kong that may be useful in informing Australia's approach to regulation.

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