After CBA scandal, Australia’s regtech sector is ready for take-off

The local regtech scene is ready for take-off.

There were two indications last week that regulatory technology’s engines are revving up.

One was the corporate regulator securing an extra $6 million in funding from the federal government to market Australia as a global centre of regtech excellence. The Australian Securities and Investments Commission chairman James Shipton is on board with the potential for new technology to help regulated entities meet their complex legal obligations.

The second was the filing of a prospectus by a promising Sydney-based regtech start-up known as Identitii. Based in a terrace house in Potts Point, Identitii plans to list on the ASX in September, with the backing of several high-profile local investors.

It’s software – a blockchain that enhances the auditability of the Swift system used by global banks to send money to each other – is already being used by HSBC to improve compliance after its devastating money-laundering scandal.

It’s been clear for a while now that when it comes to meeting stricter anti-money laundering (AML), counter-terrorism financing (CTF) and “know your client” (KYC) regulations, using spreadsheets or other simplistic systems just won’t cut it. But it’s only very recently the Australian regtech scene has felt critical momentum building.

The game changer? The massive $700 million fine paid by Commonwealth Bank in June to settle the AUSTRAC legal case that alleged the bank failed to properly identify criminal syndicates using its automatic teller machines (ATMs) to launder dirty cash out of the country.


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