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Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement

Benefits for the FinTech Industry

The A-UKFTA has prohibited a range of limitations to market access for Australian and UK financial services businesses. Neither country may require a cross-border service supplier to establish or maintain a representative office, or to be resident in its territory, as a condition to supplying a financial service.

Ensuring market access

The A-UKFTA now affords Australian investors wanting to offer financial services in the UK no less favourable treatment than is accorded to any businesses in the UK. This includes no maximum capital percentage limits for foreign shareholders for established businesses. Similarly, UK nationals are guaranteed the same opportunities to invest in Australian financial services providers as Australian investors. Those services include banking, insurance and services auxiliary to insurance such as consultancy, actuarial, risk assessment and claim settlement services.

Both Governments may not impose territorial requirements for financial service suppliers' data and computing facilities with exceptions for legitimate public policy objectives such as the protection of personal information. There will also be no nationality requirements for senior managers and directors of financial service companies.

Improving FinTech governance

Australia and the UK have recognised that transparent governance of financial services is important to facilitate market access. The countries have committed to a wide range of transparency and impartiality measures. These include prompt publication of new laws and regulations, timely and impartial decisions on whether to authorise the supply of restricted financial services and opportunities to comment with response mechanisms.

The A-UKFTA's financial services provisions are complemented by a comprehensive chapter on digital trade. Those provisions have allowed the transfer for financial services data internationally and prohibited localisation of financial data while protecting sensitive digital information.

The A-UKFTA also supports the rapid growth of electronic payments by supporting efficient, safe, and secure cross-border transfers. The agreement reflects Australia and the UK's commitment to promoting interoperability and adopting and shaping international standards.

Australia and the UK understand the importance of international cooperation to facilitate the inclusion of environmental, social and governance considerations in investment decision-making and other business activities.

A commitment to participate in international fora, such as the Financial Stability Board's Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures, will assist to supports businesses to make sustainable finance decisions.

Cooperation between financial services regulators will be enhanced through targeted dialogues, thanks to a dedicated financial services regulatory cooperation annex. Our governments will share best practices to promote diversity of gender, ethnicity, and professional and educational backgrounds in financial services.

Backing FinTech innovation

The A-UKFTA contains the world's first FTA chapter dedicated to innovation. Those provisions establish a new Strategic Innovation Dialogue, which will deepen the exchange of FinTech knowledge, expertise and best practices between Australia and the UK's world-leading businesses, universities and research agencies.

Notwithstanding licensing requirements, the UK and Australia have committed to allow innovative businesses of the other country the ability to offer innovative finance services not yet offered domestically. Both countries will also continue to encourage FinTech innovation through adopting regulatory and industry sandboxes.

Reflecting our deep people-to-people links, Australia and the UK are committed to offering enhanced opportunities for FinTech professionals to live and work in each other's country. Through a pilot 3 year visa established under the A-UKFTA, the IECSEP, Australian businesses now have greater access to British professionals with proven contributions in FinTech innovation.

The A-UKFTA has built on a successful track-record of FinTech collaboration between Australia and the UK. This includes the UK-Australia FinTech Bridge established in 2018, which provides networking and investment opportunities.

The A-UKFTA has added to this rich history.

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