Startup News & Analysis

New UK-Australia fintech bridge agreement signed, promising a boon for Aussie fintechs

Dominic Powell /

Australia’s fintech community has thrown its support behind the federal government’s new UK-Australia Fintech Bridge, which was officially signed into effect overnight by Treasurer Scott Morrison and the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond.

The bridge was proposed in November last year, and at the time Morrison said he expected the deal to be signed before the end of 2017. It will offer Australian and UK fintech startups entry into each country’s respective regulatory sandboxes, and potential quicker license processing for companies already holding a license in the opposing country.

The bridge will also facilitate more collaboration between Aussie and UK fintechs and government, including better trade flows and collaboration on regulation and policy.

“The deal will deepen ties between the Australian and UK Governments and regulatory agencies, further cementing the positions of Australia and the UK as leading global fintech centres,” Morrison said in a statement.

“The Turnbull Government recognises the significant growth opportunity for both the UK and Australian economies from closer collaboration on fintech developments.”

The development of the bridge was praised by Australia’s fintech scene upon its announcement, with Fintech Australia chief executive Danielle Szetho, who has since stepped down, previously telling StartupSmart the initiative will help the local community see what the UK puts in place that works and can be employed here, and “what pitfalls and traps we can avoid when executing similar initiatives ourselves”.

The Lord Mayor of London, Alderman Charles Bowman, also praised the initiative when he visited Australia earlier this year, saying the bridge had his “full full full support”.

“I’m really excited to see the opportunities that will develop as a consequence of that important link. This particular bridge will be greater than anything seen before,” he said.

In a statement, Asher Tan, co-founder of online cryptocurrency exchange and wallet CoinJar, said his startup had regularly looked to the UK as a way to “greater understand the fintech landscape beyond Australian borders”.

“In this rapidly evolving space of technology, the fintech bridge will be a boon for distributed ledger and digital currency companies to have clearer insight into cross-border regulation and governance. This has potential to be a key competitive advantage for players in both regions and set precedents on a global scale,” he said.

Co-founder of prominent Australian fintech Airwallex Jack Zhang has also thrown his support behind the new initiative, saying it will result in further flourishing of the Australian and UK fintech scenes.

“UK expansion has become an integral aspect of the success of Australian fintechs, and this important agreement further strengthens the relationship between Australia and the UK’s financial markets,” he said.

“This exciting new development brings us one step closer to the Airwallex vision of global financial inclusion and connectivity, and we look forward to witnessing the Australian and UK fintech communities flourish as a result of the bridge.”

NOW READ: Why this venture capitalist says blockchain technology and “cryptoassets” are the future of fintech

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Dominic Powell

Dominic Powell is the lead reporter at StartupSmart.

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