Proactive regulation makes New Zealand a fintech champion

By David Tuckwell on Thursday 28 September 2017

Alternative Lending

New Zealand has the highest per capita fintech lending in AsiaPac

Fintech lending is growing rapidly throughout the Asia Pacific but in some countries faster than others.  

New Zealand has been singled out as Asia Pacific’s fintech champion, with new research finding it has the highest per capita fintech lending volumes of any country in the Asia Pacific.

Despite its small size and reputation as a financial services laggard, a new study by Cambridge and Monash universities has found New Zealand has embraced fintech faster than any of its neighbouring countries.

“New Zealand has a capacity to process change relatively faster than other countries, partly owing to its smaller size,” said Professor Edward Buckingham, who headed up the research.

“New Zealand represents an important place to study what is happening in fintech.”

The report titled “Cultivating Growth” credited the New Zealand government’s proactive approach as driving the change. As soon as fintech lending emerged, Wellington came up with new legislation to accommodate and support it.

The report also suggested that Australia and Indonesia, despite their greater size, have fallen behind because their governments have not done this.  

“In Indonesia they’ve taken a different approach. They’ve said we want to know who you are but we won’t interfere,” Professor Buckingham said.

“There are some signs that Australia might go in New Zealand’s direction.”

Australia has also stalled on fintech because it was spared the worst of the 2008 financial crisis, which did much to discredit banks.

“It’s still early days for Australia. There are good reasons for this... We also haven’t had the disruption that others have since the [financial crisis]. I’m not attributing the rapid adoption of fintech to the [financial crisis]. But I do think that has been a contributing factor.”

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