The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) and ASIC in Australia announced Tuesday (June 13) that they signed a cooperation agreement that provides a framework to support and understand financial innovation in each economy.
According to a report covering the announcement, the agreement builds on the already close ties between ASIC and the SFC, as well as the Australia and Hong Kong trade and investment relationship more broadly. Hong Kong is already Australia's seventh most important destination for services exports, valued at AUD$2.4 billion last year and the sixth largest source of services imports, valued at AUD$3 billion.
“Financial services are a major contributor to Hong Kong's USD$316 billion economy. The cooperation agreement is a significant boost for Australia's burgeoning FinTech sector and will ease entry into this important market for innovative Australian businesses,” said ASIC Commissioner Cathie Armour.
The agreement will enable the SFC and ASIC to refer innovative FinTech businesses to each other for advice and support via ASIC's Innovation Hub and its Hong Kong equivalent, the SFC's FinTech Contact Point. This means Australian FinTech businesses wishing to operate in Hong Kong will now have a simple pathway for engaging with the SFC, and vice versa, the two said in the release. The agreement also provides a framework for information sharing between the two regulators. This will enable ASIC to keep abreast of regulatory and relevant economic or commercial developments in Hong Kong and to use this to inform Australia's regulatory approach. This marks the fourth FinTech referral agreement ASIC has entered into, following on agreements with the United Kingdom, Singapore and Ontario.
The regulators noted in the release that the Innovation Hub provides the opportunity for entrepreneurs to understand how regulation might impact them. It is also helping ASIC to monitor and understand FinTech developments. ASIC collaborates closely with other regulators to understand developments and help entrepreneurs expand their target markets into other jurisdictions.