From fintech to regtech: a new area for innovation focus

From fintech to regtech: a new area for innovation focus

Uncategorized
By Dr Drew Donnelly, Compliance Quarter. Today, continuing in our series of articles concerning developments in the fintech regulatory space (including blockchain), we discuss regulatory technology or ‘regtech’. Specifically, we look at a recent report from the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) on its fostering of the sector. What is regtech? In many industries, both in Australia and internationally, regulatory compliance is becoming increasing complex – and costly. At the same time the risk of non-compliance for a business is growing, both through increased enforcement and the potential for reputational damage. By way of example, in Budget 2017 and financial services: an opening for the minnows and a warning for the sharks, we discussed the Government’s implementation of a new banking executive accountability regime, as well as increased funding…
Read More
Future possibilities for Australian business with blockchain

Future possibilities for Australian business with blockchain

Uncategorized
    By Dr Drew Donnelly, Compliance Quarter. Last year, the Federal Government announced its commitment to Australia being a world-leader in Financial Technology (fintech). One aspect of this is fostering the use of digital currency (such as ‘bitcoin’) in Australia. In Three ways that financial technology changes can grow your business, we discussed the Government’s recent support for the use of digital currency through removing the ‘double GST’ which often applies to digital currency transactions. In its fintech priorities (read here at http://fintech.treasury.gov.au/australias-fintech-priorities), the Government also confirms its support for fostering ‘blockchain’ technology in Australia. So, what is blockchain? And how might it revolutionise Australian industry and government administration? What is Blockchain? Blockchain is a distributed ledger system, originally created to support the use of digital currencies such as…
Read More
The Australia-Hong Kong Fintech Agreement: Q & A

The Australia-Hong Kong Fintech Agreement: Q & A

Uncategorized
  By Dr Drew Donnelly, Compliance Quarter. On 13 June, The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) and Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) signed a Cooperation Agreement on financial technology (fintech or FinTech). This agreement aims to facilitate the sharing of information about fintech developments and to assist fintech firms looking to operate in one another's jurisdictions. Last month, we discussed the expansion of the ‘regulatory sandbox’ for fintech in Australia through ASIC’s Innovation Hub. Hong Kong has a similar regulatory sandbox and this agreement will mean that the respective hubs will be able to refer businesses from their own jurisdiction to the other for advice and support. In today’s article, we suggest three questions you might have about the agreement and provide our answers based on the…
Read More
The Productivity Commission’s proposed comprehensive consumer right to data

The Productivity Commission’s proposed comprehensive consumer right to data

Uncategorized
By Dr Drew Donnelly, Compliance Quarter. Over the last couple of weeks we have asked the question ‘Is your business prepared for roll out of the Notifiable Data Breaches Scheme?’, we have also discussed the impact that recent changes to European Union (EU) privacy laws may have on businesses that hold information on EU citizens. Today, we look at a proposed change to data regulation in Australia that would see individual privacy playing a more muted role in a new comprehensive consumer right to data. This right is proposed in the Productivity Commission’s Inquiry Report into Data Availability and Use. For the full 658-page report see http://www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/completed/data-access/report/data-access.pdf. Australia’s under-utilised resource The Productivity Commission (The Commission) observes that Australia is behind other countries with similar governance arrangements (such as New Zealand…
Read More
A stocktake on the fisheries red-tape reduction programme

A stocktake on the fisheries red-tape reduction programme

Uncategorized
  By Dr Drew Donnelly, Compliance Quarter. The Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) has just announced that it has passed the milestone of 50 initiatives aimed at streamlining and updating the regulatory environment for the fishing industry. However, neither the Government’s announcement, the AFMA website, nor any accompanying media provide an up-to-date explanation of which of those initiatives have been implemented, which are being progressed and which have stalled. Furthermore, on 9 June a new national peak body for the seafood industry, ‘Seafood Industry Australia’ was launched. This body will provide a unified, non-fragmented, voice for the industry and will almost certainly place pressure on the Government and its agencies to demonstrate more progress in the area. Today, we provide a quick stocktake on some key initiatives that we know…
Read More
Dousing the phoenix: Three measures that could curb this dodgy insolvency practice

Dousing the phoenix: Three measures that could curb this dodgy insolvency practice

Uncategorized
                              By Dr Drew Donnelly, Compliance Quarter. We mentioned last time that the Government is consulting on some options for curbing the misuse of the ‘safety net’ available for companies unable to pay employment entitlements on insolvency. There, we discussed the possibility of Government action to stop an illegal ‘phoenix company’, otherwise known as ‘phoenixing’ or ‘phoenix activity’. Today’s article is a deep dive into this particular practice: What is it, and what could be done to put a stop to it? The definition of “phoenix activity” In their 2015 report Business Set-Up, Transfer and Closure, the Productivity Commission defined illegal phoenix activity as: “the shifting of a business’s assets but not liabilities away from a…
Read More
Combating base erosion and profit-shifting: A primer on the new multilateral tax convention

Combating base erosion and profit-shifting: A primer on the new multilateral tax convention

Uncategorized
On 7 June in Paris, 68 nations signed the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS)(the new Convention). Australia was one of the signatories. The new Convention sets minimum standards to be incorporated in tax agreements between nations. Some provisions in the new Convention are mandatory for signatories, while others are optional. In many cases, the provisions of the new Convention are intended to remedy the ‘OECD Model Tax Convention’. Today we offer a primer on the new Convention. We summarise the underlying rationale, some key components and the next steps for Australia. For the new Convention itself, go to http://www.oecd.org/tax/treaties/multilateral-convention-to-implement-tax-treaty-related-measures-to-prevent-BEPS.pdf. Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) The new Convention arises from the OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting Project. Through…
Read More
In the case of business failure: your obligations for employee entitlements

In the case of business failure: your obligations for employee entitlements

Uncategorized
  Last month, we discussed recent Senate committee proposals to strengthen the civil penalties regime under the Corporations Act 2001 for corporate wrongdoing. Today we want to talk about another area that the Government has identified for a compliance crackdown; employee entitlement liabilities in the case of insolvency. The Government is currently consulting on a range of options contained in a paper ‘Reforms to address corporate misuse of the Fair Entitlements Guarantee scheme’ (Note: Submissions close on 16 June 2017). The Fair Employment Guarantee (FEG) scheme is intended as a ‘safety net’, where the Government ensures employees get certain entitlements in the case of their employer going insolvent. After paying a claimant, the Government then becomes a creditor of the insolvent business. The scheme cost $1 billion over the four-year period…
Read More
Is your business prepared for roll out of the Notifiable Data Breaches Scheme?

Is your business prepared for roll out of the Notifiable Data Breaches Scheme?

Uncategorized
This is our second post on the Notifiable Data Breaches Scheme. Amendments made to the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) this year, create new obligations for certain Australian business entities and organisations with respect to data beach notifications. The changes will come into effect on 22 February 2018. Will my business be affected by the Scheme? Only government agencies, companies, businesses and organisations that are ‘APP entities’ who already have obligations with respect to personal information under the Privacy Act will be affected by the Scheme. Generally speaking, this includes federal government agencies, private sector and not-for profit organisations that have an annual turnover in excess of $3 million as well as certain businesses with an annual turnover of less than $3 million (small businesses) that handle personal information. If you…
Read More
Notifiable Data Breaches: Draft Resources Released

Notifiable Data Breaches: Draft Resources Released

Uncategorized
Last Friday the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) released draft resources to help businesses comply with the Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) scheme. Under the NDS scheme, organisations covered by the Privacy Act are required to notify individuals if their personal information is involved in a data breach that is likely to result in serious harm. This will be an important area of compliance for all APP entities. The resources published on Friday cover: • Entities covered by the NDB scheme • Notifying individuals about an eligible data breach • Identifying eligible data breaches • The Australian Information Commissioner’s role in the NDB scheme. This is the first in a series of posts looking at the NDB scheme. In this post, we will examine the definition of a Notifiable Data Breach based…
Read More