On March 21, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority announced the establishment of a new “Fintech Facilitation Office” to facilitate the development of the financial technology ecosystem in Hong Kong and to promote Hong Kong as a fintech hub in Asia. The new office will act as an interface between market participants and regulators within the HKMA, as an initiator of industry research in potential application and risks of fintech solutions and as a platform for exchanging ideas and conducting outreach activities.
Also on March 21, the Australian Treasury announced reforms to support the Australian fintech industry. Initiatives include developing a “regulatory sandbox” which is aimed at reducing regulatory burdens to facilitate business. On March 23, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission announced that it had entered into a cooperation agreement with the Financial Conduct Authority in the U.K. to support referrals of fintech startups to each other. It is intended that the regulators will provide support to businesses before, during and after authorization to help reduce regulatory uncertainty and time to market.
Meanwhile, the Monetary Authority of Singapore and the National Research Foundation established a fintech office on May 3 to promote Singapore as a fintech hub. The office will align and enhance fintech-related funding schemes across government agencies, identify gaps and propose policies and schemes in infrastructure, talent development, manpower and business competitiveness.
Ravi Menon, managing director of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, gave a speech in April discussing the regulation of fintech. Rather than taking a "one-size-fits-all" approach, regulators should evaluate each technology on its own merits. For example, blockchain in clearing and settlement systems are very different from blockchain in trade finance or know-your-customer systems. He added that MAS applies a materiality and proportionality test. In other words, when the risk posed by new technology becomes material, then regulation comes in, he explained.