Federal treasurer Scott Morrison says regulators and governments are closely monitoring potential financial services ventures by “behemoths” like Google and Facebook.
Speaking to press on the sidelines of the Intersekt fintech festival in Melbourne yesterday, Mr Morrison said the increasing overlap between technology and financial services has drawn the attention of global policymakers.
“We have these behemoths roaming the earth and we need to co-operate more globally and bilaterally to ensure our competition laws are up to speed,” the Treasurer said.
“We need to ensure we gain the advantages of what these [digital] revolutions are providing but we also are conscious of the impacts. At the recent G20 meeting we talked a lot about digitisation of the economy and what that means. We do need to keep a close watch on this.”
He listed the introduction of new tax avoidance laws for multinationals as an example of the government holding companies “like Google and Facebook” to account, describing them as the “toughest” regulations of their kind in the world.
At the same time, Mr Morrison said the government is eager to support efforts to increase competition in banking and financial services, including the emergence of digital disruptors and entry of technology firms.
“The fact that our banks are well-capitalised is a major asset to Australia,” he said.
“It is one of the reasons that our economy has continued to perform well and we haven't had a recession in 26 years. So a strong banking system is an asset but a strong and competitive banking system is even better.”
The comments followed an address to Intersekt delegates in which the Treasurer confirmed the government will be introducing a mandatory comprehensive credit reporting regime for the big four banks.
He said this was one of a number of policy initiatives intended to boost competitiveness and support the burgeoning fintech industry.
In response, FinTech Australia vice-chair Stuart Stoyan issued a statement welcoming the announcement as a win for Australian borrowers.
“Until now, a number of Australia’s big banks and lenders have not been sharing the positive data which should allow customers to get better credit,” Mr Stoyan said.
“Today’s announcement will help consumers get lower interest rates and better access to credit.”