Australian open banking at “significant risk,” Trade Ledger says

trade ledger policy regulation open banking federal government lending platform Governance medium-size enterprise industry standards data security progress overseas financial markets Martin McCann financial information fintech lobby groups australian financial services

16 October 2018
| By Nicholas Grove |
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Global corporate lending platform, Trade Ledger has warned the Federal Government of substantial weaknesses in its proposed Open Banking implementation plan, when compared to the global best-practice model.

These primarily include the lack of an independent implementation and governance organisation, and limited consumer and small to medium-sized enterprise representation in the development of industry standards.

According to Trade Ledger, these omissions “risk a scaremongering campaign around data security that could stall progress and reduce the scope of the changes, leaving the door open for overseas financial markets to take over our local markets in the new era of Open Banking”.

Martin McCann, CEO and co-founder of Trade Ledger, said open banking has the potential to revolutionise the Australian economy as a whole.

“Businesses and consumers could gain real-time control of their own financial information, allowing them to evaluate financial products from multiple lenders, and switch instantaneously to a better deal. Currently only 2 per cent of bank customers switch products, despite the fact most could access a better deal,” McCann said.

“Unlocking a veritable treasure trove of bank customer data and placing it in the hands of technology-driven fintechs could also bring forth all manner of new and exciting financial products and processes that could change the way we transact forever.

“However, it’s my fear that we may not see this array of potential benefits by not learning from the best practices and mistakes of the UK, the only country to have already implemented open banking.”

In the UK, McCann said the banks were made to pay for implementation of open banking under law. This incentivised them to act rapidly and efficiently.

The UK also set up a range of trade and consumer lobby groups to balance the power of the incumbent institutions, and a governance body with unprecedented powers to compel all parties to work in the national interest, he said.

“So far, Australia does not have most of this in its implementation plans,” McCann said. “This is a once-in-a-generation transformation on the global banking industry, driven by governments around the world legislating adoption of disruptive technology.”

“However, given the fact that digital banking services don’t observe national borders, the consequences of getting this wrong could be catastrophic for our local industry.

“It could mean a shift away from a local-banks-versus-fintechs stand-off, and instead Australia might find itself competing against a whole hoard of unstoppable open banking entrants from overseas – an absolute tragedy for Australian financial services.”

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