In October the UK’s department of international trade brought a cohort of UK companies to Melbourne for the Intersekt fintech festival.
A number of UK competitors, including software business TrueLayer and small business bank OakNorth, signalled they will enter Australia ahead of the rollout of the open banking regime.
The British fintech market is more mature than Australia’s, with the region already operating under an open banking scheme where customers can share their data between banks to get better deals.
There are 526 fintechs in Australia as of 2019, according to a Visa Future of Fintech report released on Friday – an increase of 37 per cent on a year ago.
Half of these companies want to expand overseas in the next 12 months, according to the 2019 EY Fintech census, with the UK and the US the most popular markets.
Senator Hume said while it was early days, the government was determined to broker similar policies with other nations, including through a potential agreement with Singapore to help Australian companies expand into that region.
“Certainly, when I was in Singapore they were very keen to establish something similar. We have started conversations already,” she said.
The hope is that a fintech bridge could be added as part of an Australia-Singapore digital economy agreement which is under discussion.
There was also the option of a future trilateral fintech agreement between Australia, Singapore and the UK, she said.
“That is a really exciting opportunity, particularly when we start talking about things like data and access, where we are so far ahead of the curve.”
Chief commercial officer at co-working space and startup support hub YBF Ventures, Niels Maartens, told the panel the local fintech market was maturing.
“The hype is lowering and the amount of revenue growth is up and I like that aspect of it,” he said.
However, many local players may not be generating enough revenue to consider global expansion at this stage.
Visa’s report suggests only one in 10 local players have revenue of $1 million or more, while one third are post-revenue but make less than $100,000 a year.
Emma is the small business reporter for The Age and Sydney Morning Herald based in Melbourne.