On 15 August 2017, the Australian Prudential Regulating Authority (APRA) published a discussion paper entitled ‘Licensing: A phased approach to authorising new entrants to the banking industry‘. The Discussion Paper proposes changes to APRA’s licensing framework with the introduction of a new restricted ADI licences regime.
This phased approach enables entrants who require time to build resources and capabilities, such as fintech start-ups, to conduct banking related business by reducing conventional barriers to entry such as the requirement to hold at least $50 million in start-up capital.
These proposed changes to the prudential licensing regime are similar to approaches being currently undertaken in the United Kingdom, Hong Kong and Singapore.
In order to obtain a restricted licence a potential entrant must, among other things, satisfy APRA’s following requirements:
- provision of a sustainable and viable strategy to fully comply with the prudential framework;
- credible plans to progress to an full ADI licence within 2 years;
- a minimum of $3 million in start-up capital plus wind up costs; and
- directors and senior management to satisfy APRA’s ‘fit and proper’ standards.
Restricted ADI licencees must then comply with the following ongoing requirements and obligations:
- limit the maximum size of deposits from a single depositor to $250,000 and the aggregate amount of deposits to $2 million;
- hold a minimum capital adequacy of $3 million plus wind up costs or 20 per cent of total asset holdings (whichever is greater);
- maintain minimum liquid holdings equal to 20 per cent of total balance sheet liabilities;
- only offer restricted products and services; and
- comply with the reporting and disclosure requirements.
APRA invites written submissions from all interested parties on the Discussion Paper by 30 November 2017.