What ASIC is buying in regtech

  • By Christine St Anne

The corporate regulatory has bought a new cloud-hosted market surveillance system as it plans to invest more in regtech. 

ASIC commissioner Cathie Armour outlined ASIC’s approach to innovation and regulation at the recent RegTech Association annual conference. 

Armour sees regulators as the “mirror image of the financial sector”. 

“There is great innovation that is occurring in the sector. The way that we do our job really needs to be dynamic and reflect the tremendous developments that are occurring,” Armour said. 

Part of this “dynamic approach” is buying regtech. 

“We are buying new surveillance system for our market surveillance which will be cloud-hosted.” 

ASIC has also implemented a “significant data lake” and has invested in tools that monitor social network discussions about financial products. 

ASIC has also bought tools to “help manage the law enforcement part of the job”. 

Armour acknowledges that regulators have for a long tig bought into regtech but “now we have the opportunity to change the way we do things.” 

“We will be investing more in regtech and really build out our analytical capabilities.” 

The ASIC commissioner would “love to have” the big budget to spend on technology but also realises the reality of budget constraints for regulators like ASIC. 

” At least in Australia and in the UK, the regulators are generally very pro-active towards the idea and engaging with regtechs around their problem statement areas,” Deborah Young, CEO, RegTech Association 

Here she sees an opportunity to partner with firms “to try things out”. 

In fact, ASIC has rolled out a number of regtech forums where it has invited regtechs to demonstrate their technology against regulatory challenges. The RegTech Association has also actively participated in those forums. 

However, these regtechs should not expect ASIC to become its “first customer”. 

“There may be some occasions [where ASIC could buy the technology] but unfortunately it is generally not always going to be the case.” 

Australian regulators are the leaders in the uptake of regtech and suptech, according to RegTech Association CEO Deborah Young. 

“My experience is that they are generally very supportive and want to work with industry,” Young said.

Young acknowledges that regulators will stop short of promoting or endorsing regtech abut overall back the industry. 

“At least in Australia and in the UK, the regulators are generally very pro-active towards the idea and engaging with regtechs around their problem statement areas,” Young said adding that Austrac also runs similar regtech forums like ASIC. 

They all remain supportive to have a robust regulatory system.