Internationally, Fintech is experiencing rapid growth – quickly disrupting the traditional financial services industry. Forward thinking banks and innovative start-ups are providing flexible and affordable solutions that are giving consumers and businesses alternative ways to borrow and save, spend and transfer their money and manage their assets
But Australia is a laggard in pursuing Fintech in a co-ordinated way, and surprisingly little research has been done on the local industry. As co-author of the most recent report on Fintech in Australia, I am very optimistic that a vital sector can flourish here, and Sydney is the ideal location.
One of the things that struck me most when writing the paper was both the isolation and the connectedness of the Fintech community. From accelerators in the heart of the city through to its outskirts, there are start-up businesses all trying to innovate within financial services. Whether through offering personal financial management services, peer to peer lending, crypto-currency-based services or wealth management they are all looking to establish themselves within the financial services industry.
Most organisations are aware of each other. Some will have met at Fintech ‘meet-ups’ in Sydney. But the connection is loose and opportunities to collaborate and share is limited.
One of the key insights from our research was that driving new and more collaborative models – bringing together financial institutions, government, technology start-ups and investors in ways not seen here before – are critical to the industry’s success.
Today regulators, major financial services organisations and professional services firms such as ours that serve the industry are not yet optimally connected into the Fintech community. This is a really big challenge for Fintech in Australia and must be overcome if the sector is to flourish in the same way it has in other parts of the world.
We need to establish a not-for-profit Fintech hub in the Sydney CBD – co-locating tech start-ups, venture capital and established financial services firms. The creation of an independent Fintech industry association based in Sydney would also provide a strong voice and champion for the industry.
These are among the six actions recommended by KPMG and The Committee for Sydney to maximise the Fintech opportunity for Sydney.
But Sydney must act now if we are to secure our fair share of the global opportunity.James was co-author of Unlocking the potential: the Fintech opportunity for Sydney, commissioned by The Committee for Sydney and prepared by KPMG Australia. Click here to view the report.