SYDNEY, Oct 24 (Reuters) - The Australian government
published draft laws on Tuesday that would let financial
technology companies operate without a full licence, a measure
it said would encourage innovation without compromising existing
levels of consumer protection.
The draft laws would let companies test "a broad scope of
activities...without the need to meet all the existing licensing
requirements of the Australian Securities and Investments
Commission," Treasurer Scott Morrison said in a statement,
referring to the corporate regulator.
Financial technology companies would be able to test
products involving non-cash payments, crowdfunding, consumer
credit and provide financial advice on pension funds, life
insurance and domestic and international securities.
The draft laws, which Morrison has opened for consultation,
would let companies "overcome the initial regulatory burden and
costs of licensing that may otherwise hinder innovative
Companies would still need to observe "robust consumer
protections and disclosure requirements" including responsible
lending obligations and dispute resolution arrangements,
Britain's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has said it
wants to launch a pared-back regulatory environment for
financial technology companies to create a safe space to
experiment on their business models.
Australia wants to develop Sydney as a technology hub
similar to Silicon Valley and has offered tax breaks for
early-stage investments as well as a visa scheme for
entrepreneurs to attract talent.
(Reporting by Byron Kaye; Editing by Sam Holmes)
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