Senator Andrew Bragg to fintechs: “Show us how this could be achieved”

Posted: 30 October 2019 4:18 pm
News

Fintech inquiry lead puts it back on the industry.

For Senator Andrew Bragg, Australia's newly launched inquiry into financial and regulatory technology is not specifically about technology, but about jobs.

"I'm interested in how we can create new jobs, and I figured that this would be an area where we should seriously investigate how everything comes together," he told Finder.

The Senate Select Committee into financial and regulatory technology was established on 11 September 2019 and is chaired by Bragg. The purpose of the committee is to undertake a "comprehensive review" into a number of issues in Australia's innovation sectors, including the size and scope of opportunities for businesses and consumers, barriers to the uptake of new technologies, opportunities in regtech and the benchmarking of comparable global regimes.

An issues paper released by the committee on 23 October identified a number of specific focus areas for the committee. One issue was the possibility of extending the Consumer Data Right (CDR) to the superannuation sector.

"Super is compulsory and we spend more on super fees than we do on energy costs each year in Australia," Bragg said. "So we should look to facilitate people's choices much more easily than is currently possible."

CDR was announced by the Australian government on 26 November 2017 and has been applied to the finance sector in the form of open banking. It will then be applied to the energy sector with the telecommunications sector proposed to follow. CDR essentially puts data back into the hands of consumers by allowing them to share their details with third parties to be able to get better deals and switch products more easily.

According to Bragg, superannuation is the next obvious sector for the CDR.

"There are a whole lot of legal barriers that prevent people from choosing funds and a whole lot of barriers that hold back competition, so if there is an easy and simple way for us to apply the Consumer Data Right architecture into super then that would be positive in my view," he said.

However, he put it back on fintechs as to how this would look.

"I put it back on the industry," he said. "You should show us how this could be achieved."

Bragg said he hopes to work with large and small businesses across the fintech and regtech sectors in order to develop a strong state and national industry.

"I'm a big believer that unless we have some national champions in this tech space, then we will just take whatever's off the shelf from California. And that can't be good from an Australian jobs point of view," he said.

"So we want to find a way to keep on supporting Australian businesses that are developing new ideas so they can commercialise them and frankly create more jobs here in Sydney and Australia."

You can read the issues paper here. The deadline for submissions to the inquiry is 31 December 2019.

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