The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) is integral to the strength of the Australian financial services industry, says Equity Trustees.
In its submission to the Senate Foreign Affairs, Trade and Defence Committee, Equity Trustees said the deal will lead to increased participation by Australia in China's financial services sector, and vice versa.
Equity Trustees executive general manager of corporate trustees services Harvey Kalman said: “Positioning Australia to compete means assessing and, where appropriate, embracing opportunities to create an environment that opens doors for the Australian financial services sector.”
Mr Kalman said the ChAFTA will be a key part of this.
“If we can increase recognition, not only in China but throughout Asia, for Australian Financial Services Licences (AFSL) and Collective Investment Vehicles (CIVs) it will increase the strength of our financial services sector and its ability to compete, benefiting local investors and the economy overall,” he said.
One Investment Group executive director Justin Epstein argued the importance of Australia becoming a global financial services centre.
Mr Epstein pointed out that Asia presents significant opportunities for the Australian managed funds industry – it has 60 per cent of the world’s population but only 12 per cent of the worldwide funds under management.
“It is time for the funds management sector to leverage its infrastructure and export our funds management expertise,” he said.
Mr Epstein has called on the government to assess how Australian fund managers can leverage their competitive advantage and begin exporting their services to Asia.
“We need flexible vehicles that resonate with international investors. We need these vehicles now, otherwise our ability to capitalise on free trade agreements with China, Japan and South Korea will be hampered,” he said.
Mr Kalman concluded that ChAFTA presents a great opportunity for Australia's financial services industry.
“What I think is more important, is for Australia to be recognised as a centre for investment product development and management.
“Australia has the right experience in regulatory improvements; wealth management and advice; and retirement planning to provide leadership in our region on these issues. This can be achieved with the right tools in place,” Mr Kalman said.