Australia offers world-first licensing exemption for fintech
Innovation Down Under gets jazzed up. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has released class waivers to allow eligible fintech firms to test certain specified services without holding an Australian financial services (AFS) or credit licence.
ASIC commissioner John Price says its fintech licensing exemption is “unique” and “no other major jurisdiction has implemented a class waiver which allows eligible businesses to notify the regulator and then commence testing without an individual application process”. You could say the Price is right.
The exemption means firms can test specified services for up to 12 months with up to 100 retail clients, provided they also meet certain consumer protection conditions and notify ASIC before they commence the business.
ASIC has also released Regulatory Guide 257 for testing fintech products and services without holding an AFS or credit licence (RG 257), which contains information about its “regulatory sandbox” framework.
That framework includes such examples as existing ASIC relief for non-cash payment products like stored value cards; and regulations meaning that a licence is often not required for certain foreign exchange services.
You give me fever
As fintech fever grips the world, other nations have started to think about making regulations less painful.
Recently, the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) called for the second group of applicants to its regulatory sandbox. As Banking Technology reported last year, the sandbox allows businesses to test out new products and services without “incurring the normal regulatory consequences”. The move is part of the FCA’s Project Innovate, which aims to boost competition and growth in financial services.
Swiss ministry officials planned to entice fintech firms and boost competition with new, lighter regulations. The nation’s finance ministry says the plan is to remove barriers to market entry and offer more legal certainty for the fintech space.
While the Reserve Bank of India put together an inter-regulatory working group to study the entire gamut of regulatory issues relating to fintech and digital banking in India. The move is designed to help facilitate their development and is the latest in a long list of technological advances in the country.