Fintech sector welcomes Budget 2017
An improved regulatory sandbox and reduced barriers for challenger banks are among the new measures being applauded.
Australia's fintech sector, including startups, venture capitalists, incumbents and industry bodies, was among those in the country waiting to find out how they would come off in this year's budget.
Measures that have been announced by the government include the opening of the regulatory sandbox to more businesses and extending the trial time from 12 to 24 months, reducing the challenges for fintechs to become challenger banks and removing the double taxation of bitcoin.
Fintech Australia CEO Danielle Szetho has welcomed the initiatives.
“It's pleasing to see that the government has clearly used the budget to reaffirm its commitment to Australia’s fintech industry and sees this industry as a driver of increased consumer choice and jobs growth in financial services,” she said.
“We now welcome the speedy implementation of these initiatives, given that Australia is in an extremely competitive and fast-moving global environment when it comes to establishing a regional fintech advantage.”
For Beau Bertoli, joint CEO of Prospa, the budget announcements "mark a line in the sand".
"Consumers, small business owners and the big banks can no longer ignore the government’s confidence in the fintech industry as a way to deliver faster, better and lower-cost financial services," he said.
Specifically, Szetho will be examining the draft crowdsourced equity legislation, which will see this type of funding extended to proprietary companies. Fintech Australia will also be working with other startup groups to determine the impacts of the government's new levies on businesses under $10 million that employ skilled migrants.
The government also announced that it will reduce entry barriers for challenger banks, including relaxing the 15% ownership cap and lifting the prohibition on the use of the term "bank" for authorised deposit-taking institutions (ADIs) with less than $50 million in capital.
Bertoli says that this measure, along with the regulatory sandbox improvements, will increase innovation and that it demonstrates the government's trust in the sector.
For Bertoli, the budget is overwhelmingly positive.
"It’s effectively the government saying, this is the way of the future. You’ll get access to faster, better, lower-cost financial services and we’ll make sure you’re protected every step of the way."
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