Australia: Can Government & Industry Come Together to Advance FinTech Security?

In a follow-up to Australia’s National Fintech Cyber Security Summit in May 2016, Data61 published a new report called “Startup Secrets: How Australia Can Create New Businesses with Fintech and Cyber Security Industry Collaboration”.  The report highlights how the government and private sector can invest in startup talent and opportunities to strengthen financial services and their security infrastructure.

According to Special Adviser to the Prime Minister on Cyber Security Alastair MacGibbon;

“Cyber security is the foundation of our information economy and is growing more critical as government and industry rapidly expand digital initiatives. Australia’s financial services sector is world-leading in its robustness and adoption of emerging trends such as mobile payments, cloud computing and data analysis. All this is underpinned by trust in the information that is transmitted through and stored in digital systems.


Without world-class cyber security trust in our ability to perform reliable financial transactions will erode, as will our confidence to develop new products and services for business and consumers.


When the Prime Minister announced the National Cyber Security Strategy in April a fundamental aspect was increasing the collaboration between industry, research and government agencies. To better respond to threats and support the growth of the local cyber security sector. We are a nation of innovators, but too often our bright ideas are captured and commercialised by larger companies based overseas. Startup secrets is a great example of our willingness to work together to develop an industry to satisfy a growing need for our economy.”

The report details the following outcomes of the May 2016 Summit that will be implemented this year:

  • Australia has implemented a national program that brings together government, businesses, researchers, and innovators to mature the country’s cyber security and fintech industries, relying less on overseas companies and more on its internal talent.  By investing in Australians, the country will also aim to establish a leading fintech-cyber security hub in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • The program is inviting organizations to collaborate in a design challenge focused on financial services.  Startup mentoring and investment are a part of the program.
  • The program will establish a Cyber Security Innovation Lab.  Startups, researchers, and entrepreneurs will be able to collaborate with larger businesses and government organizations on projects around cyber security and fintech innovations.

Additionally, Data61’s report explains that Australian businesses must be ready to adapt a startup mentality; that is, they need to be ready for innovative activities, whether through their own making or by bringing startups aboard their teams.

“For many startups working to get a product or service off the ground, corporates can offer immediate help by bringing them on board as a supplier – it is a misconception startups are only interested in funding. Startups are also a good way for corporates to access innovative approaches to the cyber security threat landscape.”

Furthermore, the report explains that startups challenge organizational bureaucracies, allowing corporations to “rethink approaches to complex problems and access entrepreneurial talent”.

If the public and private sectors can indeed work together on advancing fintech in Australia, they can tap into a large economic opportunity.  How so?

“According to the Financial Services Council, financial services is Australia’s largest industry (larger than mining and manufacturing) employing more than 450,000 people and contributing $141 billion to the Australian economy.


There exists a significant opportunity for Australia’s financial services industry success to be replicated for both fintech and cyber security as both represent the future of financial services more broadly.


Richard Stiennon, Chief Research Analyst, IT-Harvest was the summit’s international speaker. Stiennon says Australia’s financial services industry is well ahead of the US when it comes to adopting digital technologies and we can look at that for identifying cyber security problems and take solutions to the US market.”

The full report is below.

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