ASIC and OSC Sign Agreement to Support Innovative Fintech Companies

The Canadian and Australian financial watchdogs have joined forces to encourage fintech firms realise their potential.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has signed an agreement with Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) to support innovative fintech companies in Australia and Ontario, enabling them to draw on support from the combined resources of their financial regulators as they seek to operate in each other’s market.

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Regulatory Support

Under the agreement, ASIC and OSC will refer to one another innovative businesses seeking to enter the other’s markets. The regulators may provide support to these businesses before, during and after authorisation to help reduce regulatory uncertainty and time to market.

The agreement follows the creation of the Innovation Hub at ASIC in April 2015 and the OSC LaunchPad in October 2016, both of which were established to help businesses with innovative ideas navigate financial/securities regulation, support them through the authorisation process and ease their engagement with the regulator.

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John Price, ASIC Commissioner, commented: “Since we launched our Innovation Hub last year we have seen a surge in requests by fintech startups seeking assistance about how to navigate the regulatory requirements. These have covered a wide range of issues, as you would expect of such a young and exciting sector, but include robo or digital advice, crowd-sourced equity funding, payments, marketplace lending and blockchain business models. Some of these business concepts are already looking to expand internationally, and these agreements with like-minded regulators will be a significant factor in paving the way.”

Maureen Jensen, Chair and CEO of the OSC, added: “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.”

Access to Specialist Staff

In order to qualify for the support offered by the agreement, innovative businesses are required to meet the eligibility criteria of their home regulator. Once referred by the regulator, and ahead of applying for authorisation to operate in the new market, the business will have access to dedicated staff that will help them to understand the regulatory framework in the market they wish to join, and how it applies to them.

ASIC and the OSC have also committed to share information on emerging trends in each other’s market and the potential impact on regulation.

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