Australian startups have welcomed a senate inquiry into the fintech space, arguing politicians have not yet done enough to assist businesses that challenge the big banks.
On Wednesday New South Wales senator Andrew Bragg successfully moved to secure a senate committee inquiry into the fintech and regulatory technology spaces, paving the way for a year-long review into how competitive Australia is in these sectors.
Senator Andrew Bragg Credit:Alex Ellinghausen
FinTech Australia chair Rebecca Schot-Guppy said the inquiry's global focus was a positive but there was still a lack of awareness in the Australian community about fintech companies.
"Government could play a role in helping first validate and then promoting these services to consumers," she said. "Trust is hard to earn in financial services."
Chief executive of small business lender Lumi, Yanir Yakutiel, said the inquiry should focus on expanding the regulatory sandbox program, which is designed to help early stage fintechs test their ideas.
The Israeli-born entrepreneur said Australia should look to Israel as a model given the significant financial and business develop support its government gives fintechs. He argued over the past two decades Australia's financial services policies have focused on the big banks while challenger startups have tried to bolster competition in the sector.
"I think it’s extremely, extremely uncompetitive at this stage now," he said.
Lumi chief executive Yanir Yakutiel.
Founder of information security startup archTIS, Daniel Lai, said it was time the government developed a holistic strategy for the regtech and fintech sectors, including looking at procurement policies used by governments.
"The current procurement policy process of federal government does not promote innovation or assist Australian startups which are still heavily biased against American multinationals. Innovation is more than open plan offices and bean bags," he said.
Senator Bragg said the inquiry would aim to bolster Australia's competitiveness in the technology sector.
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