Australia and Hong Kong Secure Landmark FinTech Cooperation

Regulators in Australia and Hong Kong have today announced a cooperation agreement, designed to facilitate closer ties between the two authorities as they explore the impact of blockchain development on their respective markets.

As two of the leading lights in the developing global fintech sector, the partnership will see securities regulators in both countries liaise more closely with their counterparts, to foster a stronger understanding of the implications of the distributed ledger and the most effective best practices for regulation and industry oversight.

The deal will see the Australian Securities & Investments Commission working alongside the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission to share information and understanding, as well as creating a structure for offering more effective guidance on compliance and achieving research project goals.

According to the press release announcing the agreement, the two parties will be able to use the framework to better inform each other about their developing approach to the fintech sector.

"The agreement provides a framework for information sharing between the two regulators. This will enable ASIC to keep abreast of regulatory and relevant economic or commercial developments in Hong Kong and to use this to inform Australia's regulatory approach."

Australia and Hong Kong respectively have been amongst the most proactive regulators in the blockchain and distributed ledger space.

With developed startup and tech ecosystems already in place, their more active involvement in researching and developing alongside industry partners has been interpreted as a vote of confidence in the potential of the underlying technology.

While there were few indications of how the cooperation would benefit startups and blockchain developers in each respective market, previous steps by each of these regulators would point to this arrangement as a beneficial move for the industry.

It follows from the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission confirming membership to the high-profile R3 consortium back in February, a decision that was taken in light of its desire to run more tests and early trials of the core technology.

The Australian Securities & Investments Commission has made similar progress itself, launching an innovation hub for development of the technology back in 2015.