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ASIC lays down strategy for fintech support, supervision

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The Australian Securities and Investments Commission will support the fintech sector’s growth while ensuring protection for consumers, Commissioner John Price says.

“In a highly regulated sector such as finance the approach and role of the regulator is critical in shaping the environment in which the fintech opportunity can be maximised,” he told delegates at a fintech summit in Sydney last week.

“The promise of fintech to increase choice and reduce costs to the benefit of consumers is a key reason we are looking to facilitate this part of the financial sector.

“Our overarching aim is to maintain sensible and appropriate frameworks that harvest the benefits of innovation while fostering consumer trust and confidence in financial service.”

He says introduction of the “regulatory sandbox” last December shows how the commission is performing its multiple roles as regulator, including improving the performance of the financial system.

The sandbox provides eligible fintech businesses with a “lighter-touch” regulatory environment in which to test certain services for up to a year without a financial services or credit licence. At the same time, customers are still protected under the law.

“When it comes to regulating for fintech, we are faced with the challenge of striking a balance between our commitment to encouraging innovation without compromising on the proper regulation of financial products and services,” Mr Price said.

“We are undeniably in a fintech moment.

“The promise of fintech, to increase competition, to improve consumer experience and to reduce costs, is something regulators can definitely get behind.”