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Business Insights – Shane Baker, CEO, and Rohan Morrison, Director of Sales & Marketing, attended The Financial Services Council’s State of the Industry Lunch in Sydney, which was led by Sally Loane, FSC CEO, and welcomed panelists, The Hon Warwick Smith AM, NSW Chairman ANZ; Bill Evans, economist; Sangeeta Venkatesan, Group COO of AIMS Financial Group and CEO of APP Securities.
The lunch provided an opportunity for the industry to reflect on where the financial services sector is at, the barriers that are holding it back and the profound opportunities that exist.
The group discussed the need for industry regulatory changes in order to keep up with the global market, international investment opportunities and the changing attitude towards financial technologies – along with Asian relations and the role of the consumer moving forward.
The top business insights we took away include:
- Low costs in Asia are putting Australia at a disadvantage as Asia’s company taxes are sitting as low as 22%, making it difficult for Australian businesses to compete. Asia’s investment in innovation efforts are steadily growing, alongside good investment, regulation and policy infrastructure, whilst Australia is falling behind in these areas.
- Asia provides attractive investment opportunities because of strong economic basis. More engagement with Asia is a smart choice, but Australia’s industry requires government reforms in order to encourage a focus of growth by organisations in the region. As Ms Loane said, “Our response to global economic and political uncertainty should be to dial up our engagement with Asia.”
- The year ahead needs to involve huge changes to encourage further growth. Currently, 2017 looks like a year that will bring more policy and regulation to the Australian financial services industry. Instead the Australian government needs to take a global view of the industry and its competition and reform to remain competitive.
- Regulation must assist instead of hinder our efforts moving forward. Ms Loane said, “Regulatory overkill and outdated tax regimes are acting like quasi tariffs of the new millennium.” This pressure is creating roadblocks for the further liberalisation of trade, while also holding back innovation to make financial services more efficient and competitive.
- Consumers know what they want for the future. Customer-centric strategies that are being exercised now are struggling to keep up with the demand – as regulation stifles the ability to respond. According to a report discussed at the lunch, Australian people trust the financial services industry more than the government, as the sector will continue to creates jobs and provide investment opportunities.