Sydney is fast becoming Asia-Pacific’s fintech hub

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The Central Business District is seen from the air on a sunny winter afternoon in Sydney August 24, 2013.
The Central Business District is seen from the air on a sunny winter afternoon in Sydney August 24, 2013. Reuters/Daniel Munoz

A new research has shown that Sydney is fast becoming Asia-Pacific’s fintech hub. In fact, the city is outshining Hong Kong and Singapore.

A report by the KPMG titled “Scaling the Fintech Opportunity: For Sydney and Australia” found that Australia’s fintech scene is now composed of 579 companies, a climb from less than 100 in 2014. There has been a solid investment, with US$675 million placed across 25 deals last year.

The research recognises that London is seen as the global leader in fintech. But for Sydney, it has the opportunity to become the fintech hub of Asia.

New South Wales is seen as an ideal place for fintech start-ups. At least 64 percent of the country’s tech start-up companies are based here.

The NSW Government has affirmed its commitment to growth in the sector. It has supported the creation of an independent, not-for-profit financial technology hub called Stone & Chalk fintech hub in Sydney.

“Stone & Chalk will attract international fintech talent to Sydney, develop and support the local industry, and increase NSW’s financial services exports,” the NSW Government said. It believes that supporting Sydney’s fintech sector will further bolster the city’s reputation as a leader when it comes to innovation in the financial services industry.

Despite an overall global decline in investment in the sector, Sydney has become the key recipient of fintech venture capital investment between 2014 and 2016. Investment was at $US171 million.

A 2015 report titled “Fintech 100: Leading Global Fintech Innovators Report” indicates that 7 of the 100 listed companies worldwide are in Sydney. Melbourne is also doing well, with two of the top 100 companies based in the state.

This gives the country an impressive 9 percent share in the fintech innovators’ global list. Stockspot, SocietyOne, Avoka and Prospa are Australian companies that managed to secure a spot. Prospa is one of the fastest growing tech company in Australia.

But the report also warned that the Australian sector is dealing with threats from international tech giants and start-ups. It says that regulatory challenges still stifle innovation and has the potential to create uneven playing fields.

In Australia, trends specific to fintech are an increasing demand for faster, more convenient and accessible finance and payment services. Fintech businesses in Sydney are providing jobs for people who have skills in this sector. NSW’s Department of Industry has announced a streamlined application process for NSW nomination for the Business Innovation and Investor 188A visa - Business Innovation stream.

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