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British and Australian regulators strengthen cooperation on fintech through enhanced agreement

22 March 2018
The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission have signed an agreement to explore ways to quicken the licensing process for Fintechs and promote greater levels of international cooperation on financial innovation

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) have signed an Enhanced Cooperation Agreement between their Innovation Hubs to extend their existing agreement of cooperation and coordination on fintech innovation. This agreement forms part of the broader Fintech Bridge signed by the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Australian Treasurer.

In this enhanced agreement, the FCA and ASIC have agreed to explore ways to quicken the licensing process in terms of the authorisation of innovative businesses that are already authorised in the other jurisdiction. Where a business is a participant in either Authority’s regulatory sandbox and would like to enter the other’s, the FCA and ASIC will endeavour to facilitate that participation.

The FCA and ASIC will also look to co-host fintech and regtech events, conduct joint policy work, research and experimentation and explore secondment opportunities. They will work to raise topics or approaches of common interest at an international level to promote greater levels of international cooperation on financial innovation.

Christopher Woolard, FCA’s Executive Director of Strategy and Competition, said: “Today’s enhanced agreement underscores the FCA’s and ASIC’s commitment to a deeper level of cooperation on fintech. Cooperation between regulators is a vital part of helping innovative businesses across international jurisdictions to flourish and bring their products to market for the benefit of consumers. Back in 2016 when we signed the original agreement with ASIC, we stated that we hoped that it would be the first of many to come. I am pleased to say that this has certainly been the case.”

On signing the enhanced Agreement, ASIC Commissioner John Price said: "ASIC and the FCA have developed an immensely beneficial relationship on fintech, including through our quarterly information sharing calls. We are delighted this extension will offer fintechs the opportunity to spread good ideas across borders. We will work together to raise topics and approaches of common interest at an international level."

Under this new agreement ASIC and the FCA will continue to refer innovative FinTech businesses to each other for advice and support via their respective Innovation Hubs.

Building on cooperation agreements such as the one signed today with ASIC, the FCA also recently asked for views on the merits of creating a global sandbox. This could potentially allow firms to conduct tests in different jurisdictions at the same time and allow regulators to work together and identify and solve common cross-border regulatory problems.

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