Treasurer Joe Hockey has described the export of financial services to Asia as Australia's "greatest ever opportunity" ahead of his upcoming federal Budget speech.
Speaking at the launch of the ASX Customer Support Centre in Sydney on Friday, Mr Hockey noted that the ASX is one of the top 10 exchanges in the world.
Mr Hockey, who returned from a tour of the New York Stock Exchange last week, said Australia can compete on "an equal basis" with the best in the world.
"To all of you who employ so many people, the financial services industry is the second-largest industry in Australia after health.
"In GDP terms [we're] larger than minerals and resources, yet we represent only a fraction of our exports and as I'm going to point out in the Budget speech in a couple of weeks' time, Australia is on the cusp of its greatest ever opportunity," Mr Hockey said.
Services represent 70 per cent of the Australian economy but only 17 per cent of the country's exports, he said.
And with two billion people coming into the middle class in Asia over the next 30 years, no other financial services industry in Asia is as well prepared to service them as Australia, Mr Hockey continued.
"I have absolute confidence that the financial services industry in Australia could become a great exporter, delivering financial security, financial advice, financial services more generally, to the growing consumer class of Asia.
"We've got the skillset, we've certainly got the sophistication, we've got the right regulatory regime and ... we have the tools," Mr Hockey said.
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