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Regulators in Australia and Hong Kong reach deal to help fintech businesses expand cross-border

"Innovative fintech businesses" based in Australia and Hong Kong stand to benefit from a new agreement between financial regulators in the two countries, the regulators have said.15 Jun 2017

The cooperation agreement on fintech (7-page / 257KB PDF), or financial technology, between the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) and Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) in Hong Kong, will see the regulators refer ambitious fintech companies to one other to help those businesses set up operations in their jurisdiction.

ASIC said: "The agreement will enable the SFC and ASIC to refer innovative fintech businesses to each other for advice and support via ASIC's Innovation Hub and its Hong Kong equivalent, the SFC's Fintech Contact Point. This means Australian fintech businesses wishing to operate in Hong Kong will now have a simple pathway for engaging with the SFC, and vice versa."

Under the agreement, ASIC and the SFC will also see the regulators exchange information on "emerging fintech trends, developments and related regulatory issues as well as on organisations which promote innovation in financial services", the SFC said.

The deal between ASIC and the SFC is just the latest agreement concluded between regulators to help support growth and development in fintech.

Both ASIC in Australia and the SFC in Hong Kong have fintech cooperation agreements in place with the UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The FCA also has similar agreements in place with Hong Kong's Monetary Authority (HKMA)the Financial Services Agency of Japan (JFSA)the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) in Canada, and regulators in SingaporeSouth Korea, and China.

Earlier this month, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Association of Supervisors of Banks of the Americas (ASBA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in which they agreed to improve cooperation on the development of fintech between Singapore and the Americas. MAS signed a similar deal with Abu Dhabi in March.

The European Commission has confirmed that it intends to "assess the case for an EU licensing and passporting framework for fintech activities" some time between the beginning of October and end of December this year.

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."

Ashley Alder, the SFC’s chief executive, said: "Greater regulatory cooperation is important for us to stay abreast of the rapid pace of innovation in financial services and how it intersects with securities regulation."

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