Comparing the Fintech Climates of Australia and Singapore

May 14, 2019

Australia and Singapore have both fostered impressive reputations over the years as attractive regional financial centers, but important differences persist for the emerging financial technology (fintech) industry, according to e27.

Indeed, despite the size of the Singaporean economy being only a fourth of the Australian economy, the Southeast Asian city-state nevertheless remains a major global financial hub with greater purchasing power. For fintech companies, it is relevant to assess how the two centers differ in their treatment of such firms and to appreciate the similarities they share.

Regarding regulatory environments, Australia’s financial system is regulated and supervised by four government agencies. Overall, the environment is regarded as transparent, efficient, and conducive to entrepreneurial endeavors.

By contrast, Singapore has a single regulator and supervisor of the financial services sector, known as the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). Its principal objectives are economic growth through price stability, while also ensuring financial stability.

The Australian government is currently in the process of rolling out legislation which will give individuals the right to access specified data held by businesses and to authorize secure access to this data by accredited recipients, such as banks and telecommunications firms.

While the Singaporean government is not legislating to enforce open banking, it has been supportive of voluntary initiatives. This, in turn, allows financial institutions and fintech companies to experiment with innovative products.

These are only a few examples, but the key takeaway is that Australia relies heavily on central government taxation and regulation to drive its economy while imposing innovation.

On the other hand, the low-taxing Singaporean government appears to see its role as more of a fintech facilitator than an enforcer. The success of this approach is evidenced by its corruption-free financial market, in which the private sector is driving rapid change.


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