Regtech body to spruik collaboration

03-Apr-2017

By Daniel Paperny

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Australia’s first regulatory technology (regtech) association has launched with the aim of fostering innovation, collaboration and engagement between entrepreneurs and the compliance and risk communities in Australia’s $141 billion financial services sector.

The association, which has 13 founding members, has signalled its intentions to strengthen good corporate practice in compliance management by forming a network of “change-makers” to advance technology and enhance compliance outcomes in a burgeoning ecosystem for local innovation.

Regtech Association director and Red Marker chief executive Matt Symons told financialobserver that celebrating successful deployments in the sector and encouraging regtech’s widespread adoption would help “create critical mass” and allow the association to gain a stronger footing as it worked with key stakeholders to advance the local industry.

“It’s a tremendous opportunity to reimagine how the compliance and risk management function works inside these organisations,” Symons said.

“Where these innovation models work well is where you’ve got critical mass or density of enough talented people working in a space that enables cross-fertilisation and rapid sharing of ideas and opportunities.

“We’re starting to get that in Australia in the regtech space and what we now need to do is build on that, put the foot down and try to accelerate the embrace by the financial services sector in Australia of these emerging regtech solutions.”

Symons said actively encouraging collaboration through events for new and existing members – such as hackathons and brainstorming sessions – and raising awareness around the potential of regtech in financial services are among the association’s key priorities in the coming months.

“If we can use artificial intelligence to automate many of the risk identification tasks that are currently quite manual, laborious and time-consuming for the compliance functions inside financial services firms, particularly advice businesses, then I think compliance can become a business-enabling function inside the organisation,” Symons said.

“We’ve been every encouraged by a number of the regulatory bodies, but particularly ASIC’s forward-thinking stance on the importance of regtech … and I think you’ll see the real openness that we plan to encourage with these sort of events.”

Regtech, which Symons defined as “the use of technology to address regulatory compliance or risk use cases”, was the subject of an ASIC roundtable for industry participants in February.

At the event, ASIC commissioner John Price said that the regulator’s Innovation Hub had already engaged with 30 regtech companies to understand how it could be applied to assist financial services firms in meeting their compliance and regulatory obligations.

ASIC is also expected to release a report in the coming months on the potential of regtech for helping build investor confidence and foster innovation in financial markets.

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