Scott Morrison’s UK fintech mission

Scott Morrison’s UK fintech mission

Treasurer Scott Morrison will receive firsthand briefings on Britain’s pioneering move to open up access to bank data ahead of what is likely to be a similar shake-up here.

Mr Morrison is visiting London and will meet with fintech entrepreneurs, academics and regulators to learn more about how start-ups are disrupting established financial services players like banks.

“The UK has recently introduced changes for major banks to provide customers with greater access to data held about them, and requiring data to be made available to third parties through an API [application programming interface],” Mr Morrison said.

“Developments in the UK can supplement the outcomes of an inquiry into data availability and use, which is to report to the government early this year.”

Britain is adopting an “open banking standard” that will dictate how financial data should be created and shared.

With access to such data, fintech start-ups will be better able to elbow their way into the industry. The hope is they will create cheaper, more suitable products and services.

Mr Morrison will meet representatives from the Open Data Institute, a think tank that has advised the British government and the Financial Conduct Authority, which regulates financial services firms.

An Australian parliamentary committee last year recommended banks be required to open up access to their customers’ data so accounts become more “portable” and customers are able to switch banks more easily by July 2018.

Mr Morrison subsequently indicated support for forcing banks to give away customer data to help new entrants.

In its report, the standing committee on economics chaired by David Coleman, the Member for Banks in Sydney, cited Open Data Institute estimates that each British bank has spent around £1 million ($1.7 million) to create open APIs.

Westpac and ANZ Banking Group have said they are generally supportive but want governance standards to be developed.

Separately, the Productivity Commission is examining the availability and use of big data.


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