Submission of interest for the Consumer Data Right energy advisory committee

October 2019: This submission is to the Data Standards Body and formally declares our interest in having one of our co-founders sit on the energy advisory committee for Consumer Data Right that will be formed in the coming months. Visit our government submissions hub for more Finder submissions to government consultations and inquiries.

In the following sections we will provide background on Finder, insight into our interest in the Consumer Data Right and information about our two co-founders.

About Finder:

For many people, switching things such as credit cards, car insurance and energy plans falls to the bottom of a to-do list. Simply put, it's not prioritised – which means many Australians could be missing out on the potential savings that often come with switching providers or products.

Finder's research shows:

  • The average Australian stays with the same health fund for almost 12 years;
  • 40% of us are still with the same bank that we signed up for as a child;
  • The average Australian stays with their phone provider for an average of 6 years.

Finder exists to tackle this problem and has fast become Australia's most visited comparison site, with almost 2.5 million Australians visiting the site each month. We compare over 1,800 brands across more than 100 product categories from broadband to business loans; credit cards to cruises; and health insurance to headphones. We aim to make comparison easy by cutting through the confusing terms and conditions, the marketing and the sales speak, to give the customer what they really need to make better decisions and to find better deals.

We differ from other comparison sites in Australia in a number of ways. Firstly, we don't charge a monthly subscription fee – we are free for all Australians to use. Secondly, we don't make customers hand over their phone number to access information. Indeed, we don't have a call centre at all because we don't want to rush our users into making decisions they aren't ready to.

Furthermore, we are privately owned by two Australians: Fred Schebesta and Frank Restuccia. As we are not owned by a bank or an insurance company, we have the freedom to make recommendations based on merit alone. Our journalists and subject matter experts have decades of experience and are fiercely protective of their independence as stated in our editorial guidelines.

Our interest in the Consumer Data Right:

Finder is very supportive of the introduction of Consumer Data Right (CDR) in Australia. We believe that CDR will empower Australians to take control of their personal data and this will equip them with the information they need to make better financial decisions. As a result, we have done everything we can to support the work being done by the Treasury, the ACCC, Data61 and other parties in developing the instruments and standards that will enable CDR. We have filed multiple submissions, attended all suitable workshops and produced a bespoke report for the ACCC/Data61 which tested the accuracy of the product reference data released by the big banks on 01 July 2019 against our own carefully maintained product database.

As we move towards Open Banking becoming a reality in Australia, we are taking action to become an accredited data recipient as soon as possible. We believe we are uniquely placed to turn the data made available through CDR into useful and actionable insights for Australians around the country. We have a brand that consumers recognise and trust to share their personal data with. We believe we have the broadest and best maintained product database in the country that allows us to turn this data into genuine recommendations. We also have the engineering, data analytics and product management capability to make the experience seamless for the user. We are confident that all of these things will enable us to turn customer's newly available data into, potentially, thousands of dollars of savings a year.

We are very excited about where the CDR goes after banking. We are currently investing heavily in our energy category and in the coming months we will have an engine that delivers best-in-class price comparison across a full complement of energy providers. Consistently across our user testing for this project we have discovered users who have little to no understanding of their energy usage – even when they have a bill in front of them. This demonstrates a clear need for CDR in energy that makes it easy for customers to share information about their energy usage and billing status with third-parties like Finder that can turn this into easy to understand recommendations. We see a very similar story in the mobile and broadband categories that look set to be next on the CDR roadmap.

We are fascinated about what happens when CDR is active in multiple industries in Australia. We believe that consumers will be able to connect the dots with their personal finances in ways that they have never been able to do before. We also believe that we can be one of the organisations that can turn these connections into better outcomes for Australians from all backgrounds.

About our co-founders:

Fred Schebesta: Fred is a serial entrepreneur, award-winning digital marketer, international speaker, author and media commentator. He is the co-founder of Finder which now operates in more than 80 countries with a combined 10 million site visits a month. Fred continues to drive the business forward and recently established the ventures arm of Finder which launched cryptocurrency brokerage HiveEx.com in February 2018. Fred is the charismatic, unorthodox leader at the core of Finder's explosive growth and is relentless in pursuit of his vision to better all the world's decisions by building "the Amazon of comparison".

Frank Restuccia: Frank Restuccia is the Co-founder, Co-CEO & Director of Finder. He has more than 15 years' experience in the financial services market having worked for AMP and BNP Paribas before joining forces with Fred Schebesta to build Finder. Today, he takes on the day-to-day leadership of the Australian business and has grown the audience on Finder.com.au to over 2.4 million visitors a month. Frank is passionate about the consumer and co-founded the company with a commitment to help people become more informed and make better financial decisions, and this remains the core vision of Finder. He is also deeply connected to the crew at Finder and cites building a group of inspiring, hard-working individuals who share common goals and a strong vision of helping people as one of the things that he is most proud of.

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