In early March 2017, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre’s (AUSTRAC) launched its Fintel Alliance. The Alliance, the first of its kind in the world, is a public-private partnership between government agencies (including the Australian Federal Police, NSW Police, Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) and the private sector (including the big four banks, Macquarie, PayPal and Fintech Australia). Employees of all organisations work alongside each other out of an Operations Hub, based at AUSTRAC’s head office, to combat money laundering and terrorism financing. The employees will co-design methodologies to test AUSTRAC’s data trove.
As part of the Fintel Alliance, AUSTRAC has also announced an Innovation Hub targeted at improving the fintech sector’s relationship with Government and regulators. The Hub will feature a regulatory sandbox for fintech businesses to test financial products and services without risking regulatory action or costs. One of the central aims of the hub is to design ‘smarter regulation’, to reduce compliance burdens and increase sector resilience against risks. Aidan O’Shaughnessy of the Australian Bankers Association said at the launch that “The Innovation Hub is very important in this period of substantial regulatory reform.”