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  • J McGlynn and M Bacina

Senate Inquiry into FinTech & RegTech Second Issues Paper released

Updated: May 3

On 9 November, The Senate Select Committee on Financial Technology and Regulatory Technology tabled an interim report expected for finalisation on 20 September 2020. The Report made 32 recommendations to the Government, some of which have already been implemented in the 2020-21 Budget. In preparation for the final report, a second issues paper has been released.

Good things take time

The interim reports' good reception will be built on with the Committee announcing it will now be taking further evidence before delivering its final report in April 2021. The Committee was established in September last year, and following an extensive round of public submissions and hearings in January and February, released their interim report in March this year.

However, as “COVID-19 intervened” in the process (per Senator Andrew Bragg):

the committee now needs to consider further matters relevant to its terms of reference.

The Committee assures us that it looks forward to receiving a formal government response to the recommendations. To clarify the Committee’s intended direction for the remainder of its inquiry, including its specific areas of interest, the committee released an second issues paper, which can be downloaded here.

A new plan to dot the i’s and cross the t’s

In essence, the issues paper recognises that the Committee must now turn its attention to longer term issues including tax, regulation, capital, culture and skills, as well as impacts and opportunities in responding to COVID-19.

The issues paper notes that if Australia wishes to maintain a competitive position in the financial and regulatory technology space, and more than that, seize the significant opportunities that have now been presented in the wake of COVID-19, there must be a call for further submissions:

It is clear that Australia needs to take a long term view of tech as a driver of future jobs and economic growth to ensure that Australia remains globally competitive. In the context of COVID-19, rapidly increasing global digitisation and the decline of Hong Kong as a financial services hub, there are significant opportunities for Australia to seize….

Data standards and blockchain on the list

If you would like to learn more about some of the committee's more specific areas of interest, visit here. However, from a blockchain perspective it's great to see that, following the 2020-2021 Budget’s large investments both directly and indirectly into the exploration of blockchain technologies, that the Committee is looking even further into the blockchain future:

Australia has been at the forefront of developing international blockchain standards,chairing the ISO committee responsible for developing blockchain standards on a number of key topics including interoperability, terminology, privacy and security.

It continues:

The Committee is now seeking feedback on what other areas of digital international standards should be prioritised by the Australian Government to best enable FinTechs,RegTechs and other Australian stakeholders in the private and public sectors to benefit in the long term.

So far the Committee would like to explore: Blockchain applications, Digital Identity and MyGov and Data security, but it emphasises that any submission may go beyond these issues if it is relevant to the scope of the broader area.

For those interested in contributing, written submissions addressing these issues must be made by 11 December 2020.


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