Melbourne-based peer-to-peer lender MoneyPlace has officially launched in Australia.
MoneyPlace is an online marketplace that connects borrowers and investors that offers loans from $5000 to $35,000.
The launch comes as the Australian Securities and Investments Commission granted the startup a full retail and wholesale financial services licence, which the culmination of a long and arduous process.
MoneyPlace co-founder and CEO Stuart Stoyan says the startup reflects best practice in the industry globally.
“While it has taken a considerable time and effort to gain regulatory approval, it was encouraging to see ASIC’s willingness to understand our model and ensure we are regulated in a robust manner,” he says.
“This demonstrates ASIC’s readiness to work with startups and foster innovation in financial services while ensuring it protects the consumer.”
That said, Stoyan says the challenge for ASIC is to translate the intention of its executives who want enable innovation into meaningful outcomes for startups going through the process.
“Financial services is nine or 10% of Australian GDP, employs 400,000 people,” he says.
“But the ability to actually innovate in this space, financial services is one industry that has lagged behind all other industries.
“You’ve got people like (ASIC commissioner) John Price, people like (ASIC chairman, Greg) Medcraft, (ASIC strategic intelligence senior executive) Mark Adams, that get it at the commissioner level and so on.
“You’ve got to have the rest of the organisation, to digest that, and transform. You’ve got an analyst that still has to sit there and say, here’s this 20-year-old set of regulations that applies to this robo-advisor business.
“(The analyst) has a list of checks, that need to be checked off, and even though the flag on the hill 10 levels up says we should be making it easier for these guys. The organisation needs to be able to translate that.
“It just means they need to be able to sit there and take a slightly different approach for startups.”
This first phase of the launch sees MoneyPlace allow borrowers and wholesale investors to register on the site. The platform will open to retail investors once loan volume allows.
“While we have spent considerable time and effort in preparing for launch, we will progressively roll out the MoneyPlace platform to borrowers and investors to ensure the best possible user experience,” Stoyan says.