Japan and Australia Enter Into FinTech Agreement

On June 23, 2017, the Japan Financial Services Agency (JFSA) and Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) announced the completion of a co-operative framework aimed at bolstering innovation and creating opportunities in each country’s financial services industry. Shunsuke Shirakawa, JFSA Vice Commissioner for International Affairs, believes the partnership is a right step for both countries’ economies.  

“We are delighted to establish this Co-operation Framework with ASIC. ASIC is one of the leading Fintech regulators that actively promote fintech by taking progressive actions including setup of the Innovation Hub.” Shirakawa continued, “We believe that this Framework further strengthens our relationship and facilitates our co-operation in further developing our respective markets.”

Under the agreement, both authorities will assist each other in industry matters, such as referring FinTech businesses to each agency’s advice and support group. In addition, the authorities will share vital information, such as emerging market trends, developments, and regulatory issues concerning financial services innovation like virtual currencies – a technology that both countries have recognized for payment of goods and services.

Recently, the Australian government publicized its budget plan, which would get rid of a double taxation on virtual currencies after July 1, 2017, adopt policies that encourage FinTech growth, and include the introduction of a 24-month regulatory sandbox for the Australian financial services industry.

Japan has also been proactive in its financial regulatory space. Starting April 1, 2017, the JFSA began recognizing the use of virtual currencies as a form of payment and exempted the technology from consumption tax. As a result, the technology has become more attractive to businesses and consumers, and the country has experienced a surge of virtual currency activity within the last few months as more Japanese retailers have begun accepting the technology for payment.

ASIC Commissioner John Price recognizes Japan’s accomplishments with developing technology, and sees the joint venture as a catalyst for growth and opportunities for the financial services industries of both countries.

“Japan has been a world leader in technology for a long time. As we move into a new era of financial regulation, we look forward to sharing experiences and insights with our colleagues at the JFSA,” said Price.