Choosing the path of transformation

  • By Kate Weber

A stint visiting prisoners at an all-male maximum security prison in the US as part of an MBA program gave Deborah Young the clarity around what she wanted to achieve in her career. 

As CEO of the RegTech Association, her clear aim is to ensure technology as an enabler will create a better world. 

Three clear strategies are in place at the RegTech Association to ensure the further adoption of regulatory technology continues to move forward leading to improved consumer benefits alongside better compliance and regulation.  

Founding CEO of the RegTech Association, Deborah Young says regtech is a diverse range of technologies that can be applied across various regulated industries from finance to education. 

Established in 2017 and consisting of 120 members, including 75 regtech companies including start-ups, the Regtech Association plans to encourage further investment and awareness of the importance of regtech. 

We really are trying to build an ecosystem of buyers and sellers, but also legislators like the government and importantly, regulators

“We have three clear strategies for this current year. One is to increase our engagement, the second one is to improve the potential for the industry to reach export markets.  

“The third very important one, is to help our members and the reg tech companies raise investment capital,” said Young. 

Often confused with fintech, regtech is any technology that supports regulation or compliance regimes rather than a disruptor says Young.

“We're not a disruptive range of technologies, we actually enable. That’s increasing productivity, efficiency and bringing trust back to a system.”

“Our main aim is to accelerate the adoption of regtech, that is we want to encourage regulated industries to buy regtech and we want to do what we can to promote these small companies to get their regtech in front of as many people as possible. 

“We really are trying to build an ecosystem of buyers and sellers, but also legislators like the government and importantly, regulators. 

“We want to help grow out that community.” 

Young believes regtech could easily find a home at Centrelink or Medicare utilised to service compliance and free systems from legacy programs. 

“When you have products and services that are heavily tied back to specific pieces of legislation, law or compliance programs that you need to monitor and you can't simply increase the number of people to monitor that, it makes sense to use technology to provide visibility about how the products and services have been delivered and managed.”

I began to think about what role technology is going to play in creating a better world and what role will technology play as an enabler to bring the global community closer together

“If government was to become a buyer of regtech, that would provide significant investment and a real boost to the industry. 

“I think in five years I would like to see governments using regtech. I would also like to see deployments in the energy sector and health services.” 

This could come sooner than expected as another report from the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF), finds the global regtech sector is now worth $5 billion in revenue with Australia among the top 10 regtech markets in the world.

According to CCAF report, the sector now employs 44,000 people “as regulatory changes and technological advancements drive a surge of new start-ups in the past five years”.

Turning words into action, a senate select committee has been set up for both fintech and regtech as the government seeks to learn the importance that these industries will play in the future of regulation, compliance and the border economy.

The RegTech Association will be responding to the federal government’s committee to help understand how regtech will lead to “a win for business and consumers.”

“With the amount that being spent on remediation in financial services, we would love to see some of that invested back into the technology that could actually prevent some of the problems from happening in the first place.” 

The overarching goal for Young is for consumer trust to be restored. 

“We'll all have achieved success if we restore trust back to the system.

“If we'd got to a position where consumers could operate in the financial system and have absolute trust in their bank or their financial services, then I think that's what true success would actually look like.”

With an Executive MBA (Global) from the UTS Business School and over 20 years' experience as a senior executive across financial services, Young hopes to lead change along with providing influence across industries. 

“Through the course of my career I’ve always wanted to transform the new frontier.

“I want to transform things that aren’t working, and I love being able to come up with creative solutions.”

Meeting prisoners with 25 year life-long sentences at an all-male maximum security prison during Young’s MBA program really propelled Young to question her career.

Despite all of Young’s exposure and education, the clear clarity of the prisoners showed Young the importance of authenticity. 

“I began to think about what role technology is going to play in creating a better world and what role will technology play as an enabler to bring the global community closer together.

“I came back from that trip and I quit my job and I said I want to do different things.” 

The full unedited interview is included in the AB+F December edition