In early 2016 the federal government announced the formation of a new FinTech Advisory Group to advise the Federal Treasurer on significant issues pertaining to Australia’s FinTech industry. Examples of these issues include identifying areas of potential future reform and ensuring the specific priorities of the industry are considered in the implementation of government policies.
WealthBricks sat down with Ben Heap, a FinTech Advisory Group member and founding partner of H2 Ventures, a digital design and investment firm, to discuss his views on Australia’s FinTech industry.
Q: What do you consider to be the top three priorities of the FinTech Industry?
A: Regulatory agility; while it is important to maintain our high regulatory standards, we must also allow start-ups to test products and services and to rapidly iterate based on customer feedback (the proposed regulatory sandbox is designed to provide this agility)
Australia’s international competitiveness; we are not alone is seeing the FinTech opportunity and we cannot afford to be left behind. We must be a leader in FinTech
Attracting entrepreneurial talent – home-grown and offshore talent – to build FinTech start-ups in Australia
Q: What do you see are the main economic opportunities for Australia in having a growing FinTech sector?
A: The opportunity to capture new export markets in relation to home grown FinTech firms; this is something that has previously eluded the financial services industry; the scale of the opportunity is measured in trillions.
Q: What competitive advantage does Australia have to allow it to become a world leader in FinTech?
A: Our regulatory reputation, and the strength of our financial services sector, affords Australia a competitive advantage that can be leveraged to become a leader in FinTech
Q: What do you see as the main obstacles in FinTech start-ups flourishing in Australia?
A: Access to capital and entrepreneurial experience; these are the things that make Silicon Valley so successful and the things that Australia must continue to improve in order to build a thriving start-up environment.
Q: What interests you personally about FinTech?
A: The scale of the opportunity; the entire financial services will be reshaped and it is exciting every day to be a part of that.
The government expects fintech to have an important role to play in Australia’s innovation future – it will be interesting to monitor the developments.