Australia: Norton Rose Fulbright and NSW Government host meeting of leading US fintechs
Last Updated: 6 June 2016

Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright, in partnership with the NSW Government, yesterday hosted a wide-ranging discussion by leading fintech specialists from New York and California.

A thriving fintech industry is a priority in NSW given the strong alignment with the state's proven capabilities in financial services and technology, as well as its ongoing role as a gateway to Asia.

The fintech meeting coincides with the visit of a delegation of Silicon Valley investors and global fintech players, coming as guests of the NSW Government. The delegation includes a world leading accelerator; US fintech foreign direct investment targets; a leading US venture capital player; and several blockchain disruptors (including New York's Digital Asset Holdings, which the ASX recently invested in).

The gathering of legal, financial services and technology industry specialists at Norton Rose Fulbright's offices in Sydney heard from California's Silicon Valley Bank managing director Andy Tsao; New York-based senior manager at EY, Angus Champion de Crespigny; California's 500 Startups partner Sheel Mohnot; and Ricardo Correia from R3CEV in New York.

NSW Government Minister for Trade Stuart Ayres opened the event and commented:

"Australia's capacity to protect intellectual property, its strong rule of law basis and access to talent, means that Australia and Sydney in particular, is a natural home for innovation.

"Adding leading fintech businesses into our ecosystem is a critical part of our growth strategy both in terms of direct job creation as well as enhancing our thriving, innovative economy. Global connections are vital for technology transfer, innovation and access to a wider customer base. Fintech is inherently global by nature and we want to ensure Sydney is in that global supply chain."

Norton Rose Fulbright partner and APAC head of technology and innovation, Nick Abrahams, commented:

"Fintech will revolutionise financial services. Australia is ideally placed to be a major player in this disruption, with its strong financial services companies and innovative tech culture.

"The question about fintech for me is: 'Who wins?' Will the nimble startups disrupt the incumbents and create massive value for their risk-taking investors? Or will the big banks, super and insurance companies adopt fintech and enhance their already strong market positions?"

Norton Rose Fulbright has strong links with the fintech community across the world. In April the firm hosted a blockchain discussion in Sydney with senior representatives of ASIC, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and the ASX on blockchain technology and regulatory issues.

500 Startups partner Sheel Mohnot commented:

"Regarding upcoming changes to the banking sector, we expect that within 10 years around 30 to 40 per cent of banking will be done by technology companies."

EY senior manager Angus Champion de Crespigny commented:

"We are seeing new ecosystems develop, with blockchain technology as the enabler".

Silicon Valley Bank managing director Andy Tsao commented:

"Australian entrepreneurs have been quietly doing a nice job in building global businesses and launching them in Silicon Valley."

R3CEV managing director, Asia product and lab, Ricardo Correia commented:

"Australians should be capable of lifting and shifting what is happening in the US and Europe and replicating it here within a local regulatory framework. We also see opportunity for collaboration between competitors and emerging entrants to create new profit pools and revenues by using distributed ledger technology. At the moment consortia such as R3 are working on quick experimentation and integration of financial-grade technology that will achieve large cost efficiencies in middle and back office as well as complex manual systems and processes."

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