Pressure mounts to cut export red tape

Government under pressure to make financial services global trade.


By Julie May

Email Article Print Article

Australia needed to knuckle down and change its regulatory framework so that financial services could be traded on a global scale, leading industry figures said yesterday.

Speaking at a Financial System Inquiry event in Sydney, SMSF Professionals' Association of Australia chief executive Andrea Slattery said the Australian financial services industry could look forward to significant economic growth prospects overseas.

“There is an opportunity for the exporting of financial services, the exporting of our expertise, the exporting of our efficiencies,” Slattery told delegates.

She added technology was a great enabler for the wider delivery of financial services, but the industry needed to simplify its language, particularly if it wanted to deal with multiple markets.

Australian Financial Markets Association executive director David Lynch agreed and said the international context was now more important than ever.

“Future economic growth opportunities and development in the Asia region drive a greater need for regional financial market integration,” Lynch said.

“Australia needs to be well placed to take advantage of these opportunities, as exporting financial services offers new funding sources that will drive both economic growth and employment.

“The ingenuity and capability of our markets, the quality of our regulatory and legal system, and the economic development of Asia present a great opportunity to grow our financial services exports.

“In truth, however, we’re yet to deliver a convincing message to global institutions that we’re really willing to compete.”

Financial Services Council chief executive John Brogden, a long-time advocate for exporting financial services, said the sector could become a genuine “trade” industry for Australia.

“We do very little in the funds management sector, in the retirement income sector, in the wealth management sector in general in terms of trading beyond our borders,” Brogden told delegates, pointing the finger at the regulatory framework.

“The concept you have probably heard of is an Asia region funds passport, but that’s just a part of a package of reforms that would open up trade opportunities for Australia.

“We’d be very keen to see [inquiry chairman] David Murray conclude his report with a clear recommendation to the federal government to complete the recommendation and reforms outlined in the [2009] Johnson report to ensure Australia can be in real terms, in a serious way, a trader of services in the region.”

Financial Services Council chairman and Schroder Investment Management Australia chief executive Greg Cooper earlier this month said only about 3.5 per cent of funds under management in Australia were sourced from offshore, compared to 80 per cent in Singapore and 65 per cent in Hong Kong.

« Back to Articles