ASIC has today released a review of its regulatory sandbox, introduced in December 2016. In the review ASIC proposes to retain class waivers known as the fintech licensing exemption, that allow eligible financial technology (fintech) businesses to test certain specified services without holding an Australian financial services or credit licence. ASIC had committed to reviewing its fintech licensing exemption following 12-18 months’ operation.
ASIC Commissioner John Price commented:
By introducing ASIC’s fintech licensing exemption,we have given a range of fintech businesses the chance to test their ideas without needing a licence.
Even in cases where interested fintechs have discovered that they were not able to make use of the fintech licensing exemption, we have found that its introduction has encouraged businesses to come forward and consider their other options that result from the flexibility in ASIC’s existing regime.
ASIC’s current fintech licensing exemption allows eligible businesses to test specified services for up to 12 months with up to 100 retail clients, provided they also meet certain consumer protection conditions and notify ASIC before they commence the business.
To date, four fintech businesses have used the fintech licensing exemption. Relying on the exemption, one business tested its financial services (providing advice and dealing in listed Australian securities); two businesses are currently testing advisory and dealing services in deposit products; and one business is testing acting as an intermediary and providing credit assistance.
In addition, over a dozen fintech businesses have also contacted ASIC about using the fintech licensing exemption.
The complete announcement can be seen here.