The Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) has issued a consultation paper that proposes a regulatory sandbox licensing exemption to support innovation in financial services.
The exemption will allow fintech startups to test certain financial services for six months without having to hold the Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL).
The regulator has proposed this measure in order to mitigate the key barriers faced by fintech startups, which include speed to market and complying with a licensee’s organisational competence needs.
In order to address these barriers, ASIC also proposed to provide examples on how it uses its discretion under existing policy to assess the organisational competence of a licensee applicant; and modify its policy on organisational competence of a licensee to "allow some limited-in-scale, heavily automated businesses to rely, in part, on compliance sign-off from a professional third party to meet their competence requirements".
ASIC commissioner John Price said: "We believe the measures proposed in this consultation paper will help to lower barriers to entry faced by fintech start-ups by providing cost reductions and promoting efficiency in the provision of financial services whilst maintaining the fundamental principles of the regulatory and licensing framework.
"The proposed licensing exemption compares favourably to measures in other jurisdictions as it will allow some fintech businesses to commence testing of certain product offerings in the absence of detailed assessment by the regulator."