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Australian and Canadian financial regulators join forces to provide mutual support to fintech startups

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Seeking to foster expansion in each other’s markets, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) has signed an agreement with the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) to provide mutual support to fintech businesses in Australia and Ontario, Canada.

Under the new agreement, innovative fintech companies in Australia and Ontario will be able to draw on support from the combined resources of their financial regulators as they seek to operate respectively in the Australian and Canadian markets. To help reduce regulatory uncertainty and time to market, the regulators may provide support to innovative businesses before, during and after authorization and speed up the time to market.

If for instance, an Australian fintech startup meets the eligibility criteria and wants to operate in Ontario, Canada, then the agreement will ensure that the startup has access to dedicated staff that will help them understand and learn how best to operate within the regulatory framework in Canada.

The agreement is expected to cover a range of issues, such as a robot or digital advice, crowd-sourced equity financing models, payments, marketplace lending and blockchain business models. The agreement also obligates ASIC and OSC to share information on trends and their impact on regulation.

Signing the agreement, John Price, ASIC Commissioner said:

ASIC is committed to encouraging innovation that has the potential to benefit financial consumers and investors. Since we have launched our Innovation Hub last year we have seen a surge in requests by fintech startups seeking assistance on how to navigate the regulatory requirements.

The Innovation Hub provides eligible businesses informal guidance from ASIC on the licensing process and key regulatory issues that should be considered when entrepreneurs start their business. Through its Innovation Hub, ASIC engages with the fintech community, providing assistance to innovative fintech startups and liaises with fintech experts through ASIC’s Digital Finance Advisory Committee. Price added,

Some of these business concepts are already looking to expand internationally and these agreements with like-minded regulators will be significant factor in paving the way.

Chair and CEO of OSC, Maureen Jensen says,

Last month, the Ontario Securities Commission unveiled OSC LaunchPad. This is the first dedicated team by a securities regulator in Canada to help fintech businesses navigate securities law requirements and accelerate time-to-market. Today’s agreement— another first for a Canadian securities regulator— reflects our commitment to improving the regulatory experience for emerging businesses that are offering innovative services, products and applications of benefit to investors.

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