Jost: Pace of reform is too slow

Australia must disrupt its banking regulations or face waking up one day to find a FinTech innovator such as Chinese giant Alibaba becoming the bedrock of our financial system, rather than the Big Four banks.

So says Jost Stollmann, a German expat with decades of experience in technology entrepreneurship, government and FinTech innovation.

“One day we might not be talking about the Big Four but AT&T Financial Services and Alibaba owning banking services in Australia,” says Mr Stollmann.

Mr Stollmann sees Australia at a tipping point, not only with FinTech regulation but also with its overall innovation thrust.

In a strengths, weaknesses, opportunity and threat analysis, Australia has great lifestyle and institutional stability strengths but too much complacency and lack of drive, according to Mr Stollmann, who sits on the Federal Government’s FinTech expert advisory group.

Australia needs its leaders to furnish a compelling innovation-centric narrative, followed up by regulatory disruption, particularly in the financial services sector, he says.

Mr Stollmann had close experience with the politics of innovation reform in Germany in the late nineties.

“In 1998 Germany was drowning in despair and tears,” he says.

At the time, Mr Stollmann, was Shadow Minister of Economy and Technology and helping drive the campaign of Social Democratic Party leader Gerhard Schroder.

“In our campaign it was very important to shift the narrative to a country of ideas and opportunity and to one of taking everybody along on the journey.”

“It’s a very difficult task to marry a sense of urgency with the confidence that it could be done and the trust of the electorate to be taken along.”

The pair must have done something right because Mr Schroder won the Chancellorship in a landslide.

Mr Stollmann did not follow Schroder into government, leaving the SDP after a power squabble with the party’s left wing. Instead, he and his Greek-born wife Fiona built a 130-foot ocean-going yacht, packed up their five children and began a two year circumnavigation of the world.

He arrived in Australia literally by accident when his yacht hit an uncharted reef in Fiji in 2003.

While the yacht was being repaired in Australia, his wife Fiona fell in love with Sydney and the couple transplanted themselves and their five children here.

Mr Stollmann is no stranger to what we now call FinTech. In 2006, he launched the digital bank, Tyro Payments in Australia, offering mobile cloud-based banking to SMEs.

Tyro now employs more than 350 staff and processes more than $8.6 billion in EFTPOS transactions among 17,000 customers. Previous to Tyro and back in Germany Mr Stollmann cranked up German system and network integrator CompuNet in 1984 and led it to being a US$1 billion outfit. He then led the expansion of GE Capital IT Solutions across Europe.

Looking at the Australian Government’s foray into innovation consciousness, Mr Stollmann says the local startup and tech entrepreneurial community was ‘electrified’ with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s early work such as the Innovation Statement and various startup friendly reforms, but he appears to have missed out on taking the rest of the electorate along for the ride.


To read more, please click on the link below…

Source: Jost: Pace of reform is too slow –