Budget boon for financial services

Australia's financial advice sector is set to be a significant beneficiary of the Federal Government's $5.5 billion ‘Growing jobs and small business' package, announced in last night's Budget.

Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA) general manager, policy and conduct, Dante De Gori, said the package would enable small practices to invest and grow.

"This package will assist financial planners and consumers alike — financial planners are often small business operators themselves and they also provide advice to many Australians who run their own business or are seeking to start up their own business," he said.

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"Specifically, the reduction in the company tax rate and a five per cent discount for sole traders along with an immediate tax deduction for items purchased for under $20,000 is a fantastic initiative."

Grant Thornton Australia head of financial services, Madeleine Mattera, said the package would "encourage the burgeoning financial technology players and disruptive innovators," paving the way for the "Aussie Google of tomorrow".

"It encourages important competition for the financial services industry but it also provides real opportunity for companies as well as super funds to invest in innovation and to work with new start-ups in a collaborative way," she said.

"The support promised by the Government in facilitating new opportunities for crowd-source funding and expanding tax concessions for Employee Share Schemes are all a step in the right direction to providing support for ‘fintech'."

However, Australian Private Equity and Venture Capital Association Limited (AVCAL) chief executive, Yasser El-Ansary, said that while the Budget put in place strong foundations for a more entrepreneurial and innovative economy, more needed to be done.

"The Government still has a lot of work to do in pivoting our economy towards a more innovative future. Many of our competitors around the world are putting in place policies that are targeted at attracting our best and brightest entrepreneurs away from Australia — we need to get on with the job of laying down a long-term bi-partisan strategy for innovation," he said.

"The budget has confirmed the government's commitment to implementation of a new crowd-sourced equity funding regulatory framework, which is good news for thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs who need to raise seed capital to get their business ideas off the ground."

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