A government inquiry into improving data access across the financial services sector is too narrow, concerned mainly with credit data, says Wayne Robinson, CTO at data repository provider, InvestmentLink.
In a statement on March 21, Treasurer Scott Morrison said the government had asked the Productivity Commission to outline options to increase data availability and access to facilitate new products and better consumer outcomes. This is part of an overall plan to develop Australia’s fintech industry.
A main government priority noted in the statement is mandating comprehensive credit reporting (CCR) for large credit providers by end of 2016 and for small credit providers by end of 2017.
While supporting the government’s initiative, Robinson said it needs to go further as there is a wider emerging financial service sector that also needs access to sufficient data to prove its value.
“The fintech sector as a whole needs better access to a broad range of financial data,” Robinson says. “Companies across the spectrum face the same challenges of accessing data in an efficient and cost-effective way.
“Currently, major financial institutions do not provide generic solutions to allow access to data; they develop one-off solutions for individual companies. This is an expensive process, and one that large institutions are reluctant to do for developing fintech companies, particularly for companies that have yet to develop a significant customer base,” he said.
Developing standard access solutions that covering institutional data and allow client to authorise third-party access to personal transaction data would be a major boost for the emerging fintech sector, said Robinson.
New fintech products will revolutionise how Australians manage their superannuation, said Robinson.
“It’s not only the 16 per cent of Australians that currently use a planner that will benefit from better access to data. Better access to superannuation data will open up a whole new category of financial product – improving engagement, improving risk management and ensuring that Australian workers are receiving the most appropriate financial services for their specific circumstances,” he said.
InvestmentLink has offered to work with the government and industry to develop protocols that would enable more efficient. The company believes one option to manage improved access to data could be by establishing an independent body charged with ensuring all firms are complying with established protocols.