Australia secures fintech agreement with Japan

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The Australian Securities and Investments Commission has signed an exclusive co-operation deal with Japan’s financial regulator to spur mutual innovation in financial services, the Australian regulator announced today.

The framework for cooperation facilitates a direct channel between Japan’s Financial Services Agency (JFSA) and The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to “share information and support the entry of innovative fintech businesses into each other’s markets,” according to a joint statement by the national regulators.

The agreement also allows each regulator to refer fintech businesses to one another for advice and support, directed through ASIC’s Innovation Hub and JFSA’s FinTech Support Desk – local support networks tasked with guiding fintechs through the regulatory hurdles of each country.

ASIC said the framework will encourage Japanese fintechs to engage with innovative financial businesses globally.

“The JFSA has been actively involved in encouraging fintech through a range of measures including the modification of the legal system to enable financial groups to invest in finance-related IT companies more easily and establishing a legal framework for virtual currency and Open API.”

Shunsuke Shirakawa, JFSA Vice Commissioner for International Affairs, said the “framework further strengthens our relationship and facilitates our co-operation in further developing our respective markets.”

The agreement marks ASIC’s second fintech pact with an Asia-Pacific regulator within a month, securing a similar agreement with Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC).

Japan is an emerging force in fintech, with research firm Yano ICT anticipating ninefold growth in Japan’s fintech market sales by 2020 – from US$33.6 million in 2015 to US$563 million.