Hong Kong, Australia regulators sign fintech cooperation agreement

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HONG KONG (Reuters) - The Hong Kong and Australian securities regulators on Tuesday said they have agreed to cooperate in financial technology, or fintech, days after a financial lobby group said a lack of regulatory coordination could hold back Asia-Pacific fintech firms.

The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) and Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) agreed to share information about fintech developments and to assist fintech firms looking to operate in each others’ jurisdictions.

“The cooperation agreement is a significant boost for Australia’s burgeoning fintech sector and will ease entry into this important market for innovative Australian businesses,” ASIC Commissioner Cathie Armour said in a statement.

Asia’s competitiveness in fintech is being undermined by rivalry among the region’s financial centers that has created regulatory complexity and uncertainty, the Asia Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (ASIFMA), which represents banks and fund managers, said last week.

In a paper, ASIFMA called on regional regulators to coordinate better and adopt a consistent set of best practices for fostering fintech in the region.

Reporting by Michelle Price; Editing by Christopher Cushing